The Mocs did not play particularly well on Monday night. But no matter. They came up with the win anyway against the Bulldogs, 82-78 in Charleston.
That was the sort of win that shows how much the team has improved and how this team has gotten better. The Mocs could have easily folded in this one. But they did not. They kept on fighting, kept on battling, hung around all the way until they could take the lead.
This was redemption for the Kennesaw State game, where the Mocs trailed for the entire night and kept on fighing back and fighting back but could never get over the hump. This game felt like that one, as the Mocs trailed all night, and kept on fighting back but could never get the lead....until Martynas Bareika knocked down a huge three with just under two minutes left to give the Mocs their first lead.
This was redemption for the Nevada game, where the Mocs clung to late one point lead and had the ball, but could not execute an inbounds play and then Z Mason missed two free throws after that before giving up a last second three to lose. On this night, the Mocs were up one, executed the inbounds play, Greg Pryor got fouled and he made one of out two free throws. Then they stopped the Bulldogs, and Mason was fouled. He calmly stepped to the line and knocked down two free throws, clinching the win.
This is a team that has found confidence and belief in each other- enough to come back from twelve down in the second half on the road and come up with the "W." I get that it was just against The Citadel. I get that the Bulldogs are one of the worst teams in the SoCon. But a road win is a road win. On a night when they were not playing well, the Mocs still won. There's a lot to be excited about in there.
In the first half, the Mocs defense reverted to how they were playing earlier in the year. The Bulldogs shot 53.3% from the floor in the first half. With that kind of defensive effort, the Mocs were a bit lucky to be down just eight. In the second half, the Mocs held The Citadel to 37.5% from the floor. That was why the Mocs won the game. They stepped it up on the defensive end of the floor and that was what lead to them winning this game.
Why else did the Mocs win this game? Because Z Mason stepped up and decided that he had had enough. He scored just four points on 2 of 10 shooting and seven rebounds. In the second half, he shot 8 of 11 from the field for 26 points and seven rebounds. Mason was unbelievable in the second half. He put the team on his back in the second half and carried them to victory.
Casey Jones continues to improve and Rico White scored in double figures as well. Gee McGhee had six rebounds even though he did not shoot well. Jones is showing that he could be an All SoCon player by the end of the year. Mason is looking more and more like the Player of the Year.
This was a solid performance. Let's see what they can do at home against Samford on Thursday.