After a warm-up against Covenant, the real battles start on Monday night, when the Mocs travel to take on Radford on the Big South Network. The game I believe will be free on the Big South Network. Click here for access to the game. Find the game listed, and click away.
While Chattanooga pounded away at Covenant, Radford was getting drilled by George Washington, trailing by as many as thirty midway through the second half. They wound up losing 76-54. Not a particularly good first game. Jalen Carethers and Javonte Green each fouled out and are starters. They played a total of 23 minutes. The Mocs could use getting them in foul trouble too. Green averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago. The 6-4 junior is one of the Highlanders top scorers. With him in foul trouble, the Highlanders really struggled to find offense against George Washington.
The Highlanders finished dead last in the Big South a season ago in two and three point shooting. They were a terrible shooting team. The 33.3% shooting from the field against George Washington and 23.8% shooting from three point range shows that their offense may not have improved yet.
While RJ Price did not foul out, he shot a terrible 1 for 10 from the floor against George Washington. After averaging 13.6 points per game a year ago, this was not a good showing. When you combine Price and Green, they combined to average 28.2 points per game a year ago and scored a total of ten points on 3 of 17 shooting. An additional eighteen points from those two would have put the Highlanders right into the game against George Washington.
Ya Ya Anderson averaged 8.8 points per game a year ago. The 6-2 guard scored 15 against George Washington, the only Highlander to score in double figures.
George Washington shot 50% from the floor and 5 of 9 from three point range. They also outrebounded Radford 43-34, though Radford did come up with 15 offensive rebounds.
Mike Jones coached under Shaka Smart, just as Will Wade did. He believes in pressure defense as well, and they did force 17 turnovers against George Washington. Radford was picked to finish third in the Big South North Division this year.
Jalen Carethers and Brandon Holcombe are the two tallest starters. Carethers is 6-8 and Holcombe is 6-7. Given the Mocs lack of height, this is important. They will have to find a way to make sure that they do not get beaten on the glass. TJ Williams collected eleven rebounds in the first game off the bench. His task will be much tougher this time around. Z Mason is physical and a very good rebounder, even if he is a touch on the small side. This is a game that he needs to step up his rebounding.
One of the biggest things in this game is how Greg Pryor handles the pressure at point. I'm very interested to see how he performs. This is his first game against a D1 opponent. It will be very interesting to see how he holds up. Casey Jones and Lance Stokes are going to be important on the defensive end.
These two teams are going to bring a lot of energy and this game is going to be a ton of fun to watch. Both teams are looking to come up with a critical victory at this early stage of the season. Will Pryor hold up to the pressure? Will the Highlanders offense be able to find a way to break the pressure and score easy baskets against the Mocs? Will Gee McGhee continue to show his development? This game will tell us a lot of what we need to know about the Mocs.
PREDICTION: The Highlanders defense will prevent a challenge to Pryor and the Mocs offense. The Mocs defense will provide some problems to the Highlanders as well. This game will be fast paced, with a lot of pressure, but I'm not sure how much these two teams will be able to score. It will be a thrilling game. If this game was in Chattanooga, I'd pick the Mocs to win. In Virginia, I'm going to go with Radford in a thriller. Radford 69, Chattanooga 64.