Chattanooga is fighting for respect and to prove that they belong in the SoCon race. Is the 6-0 start
more fluke and a product of a slightly easier SoCon schedule? Or is it that the Mocs deserve respect now that they have Z Mason and Rico White healthy? Now, the Mocs are here with a chance to prove themselves against the SoCon preseason favorite, Elon.
The Phoenix are going on the road for the second straight week to take on an unbeaten SoCon opponent. Last week, Elon beat Davidson in the SoCon Game of the Week. They were in the game for most of it last week, before falling behind by double digits. Then a furious rally sent the game to overtime, where Elon prevailed. Can they come up with that kind of performance again?
The Phoenix will rely heavily on Lucas Troutman. Troutman is 6-10, and no one in the Mocs lineup can match his height. He's averaging 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. In SoCon play, he's been averaging 18.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He has had quite a few huge games. He came up with 28 points and 12 rebounds against Davidson. He had eight turnovers against Western Carolina in the one SoCon loss.
Sebastian Koch and Tanner Samson are the two best three point shooters for the Phoenix. Koch has made 46.3% from three point range while Samson has made 44.7%. They have made 57 and 51 threes, respectively. Koch is averaging 13.3 points per game, while Samson is averaging 10.3 points.
Elon is not a good offensive rebounding team, ranking 337th in the country in that category. However, they have gathered 33.3% in SoCon play, good for fourth in the conference. They hit that same percentage last week against Davidson, and that was one of the main reasons they were able to win. They are not a good three point shooting team so far in SoCon play, making just 31.6% of their threes, but they have made 56.0% of their twos, good for tops in the conference.
The other key to the Mocs resurgence has been Rico White. He's averaging 16.3 points per game in SoCon play. That is phenomenal. He is a decent three point shooter, and a good slasher to the basket. He can pick up fouls, and as an 83% free throw shooter that is a very good thing. His three point shooting is critical.
Martynas Bareika is the streakiest shooter. He is a 37% three point shooter. He can get red hot from long distance at times and simply not miss. Casey Jones is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and has been really providing a spark of energy.
The Mocs, who were one of the worst defensive teams in the country in out of conference play, has turned into one of the best. They are the best at guarding the three point line and the third best in two point field goal percentage. They lead the league in defensive eFG%. They are the best offensive rebounding team in the SoCon.
This is the Mocs moment. They are ready for this moment and ready to show up. Bareika will have an explosive game from three point range. The problem of course is that the Mocs really have no good match-up for Troutman, even with Mason, who is one of the best all around players in the SoCon. They don't have a big guy. Mason will still get his work done on the offensive end. The Phoenix are going to stick around because of Troutman, but the Mocs will do enough to come up with a win that will define them as a SoCon contender. Mocs 75, Phoenix 72.