By John Coleman
The red-hot Chattanooga Mocs are looking to stay hot as they’re playing in the SoCon tournament set for March 3rd-7th in Asheville, North Carolina.
The Mocs finished last season in 4th place in the SoCon conference with an overall record of (18-8) and coach Lamont Paris knew he had some work to do in the off-season.
When asking Chattanooga center Avery Diggs on what changed this past off-season he said, “This past off-season everyone bought into coach Paris’s plan. He also says that “We have a bunch of older guys that have been in college basketball for 3-6 years and they know what it takes to win.”
Chattanooga Men’s basketball team finished the regular season in 1st place with an overall record of (24-7) and a conference record of (14-4). This has been the best season they’ve had since finishing (29-6) in 2015-2016 before falling short in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Mocs have been cruising through the regular season with two 5-game winning streaks that resulted in beating conference rivals UNC Greensboro, Furman two times, Mercer, and Wofford. One of those wins was a double OT win against Mercer with big play coming from center Avery Diggs. Diggs scored 21 points while only averaging 4.7 points a game this season. When talking to Diggs about that game he said, “This is the most important game I’ve ever played in,” saying “I knew I had to step up and do my part with De Sousa being out and Smith struggling offensively.”
Just like the regular season the Mocs have beaten The Citadel Bulldogs in the first round of the SoCon tournament on Saturday, March 5th, and beat the Wofford Bulldogs in the semifinals on Sunday, March 6th advancing to the championship game set to take place Monday, March 7th, 2022.
Chattanooga has had great play all season from guards Malachi Smith, David Jean-Baptiste, and Darius Banks along with 6’10” center Avery Diggs and Silvio De Sousa who’s a 6’9” center from Kansas.
Chattanooga guard Malachi Smith won the SoCon player of the week four times this season. Becoming the first player to do that since Steph Curry did it with Davidson.
According to Diggs, The Mocs were preparing for the SoCon tournament, “By trying to limit mistakes that we make defensively in games, and If we do that, we’ll walk out of Asheville with the SoCon championship in our hands.”
The Mocs are trying to make it to the NCAA tournament by doing what they’ve been doing all year winning.