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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team could not sustain a good start to the 2019-20 season Tuesday night at Eastern Kentucky University. The Mocs saw a 38-33 halftime lead quickly evaporate as the Colonels dominated the second half on the way to a 79-68 win.

The Mocs used four points from Ramon Vila and A.J. Caldwell's 3-point basket to break a 31-all tie in the final four minutes of the first half. Eastern Kentucky, however, opened the second half with a 15-0 run to assume control.

The second half began with Vila and starting power forward Rod Johnson called for their third fouls. Houston King hit three 3-pointers and Darius Hicks added four points in EKU's massive run, which also included 0-for-11 shooting from UTC.

The Mocs did not get closer than eight the rest of the game. David Jean-Baptiste topped the Mocs with 18 points, with Matt Ryan adding 15 points, on 5-of-18 shooting, and eight rebounds, and Johnson 12 points.

UTC shot just 32.4% from the field in the first half but made six of 12 3-point shots. The Mocs were just 10-for-37 from the field in the second half, including 3-of-13 from 3-point range.

King (6-of-8 shooting) and Hicks (7-of-13) paced Eastern Kentucky with 19 and 18 points, and Hicks led a 40-34 rebounding edge by grabbing 10. The Colonels shot 51.9% for the game, including 60% in the second half.

UTC opens its home slate Saturday against Tennessee State at 4:30, with the women opening a doubleheader against Hampton at 2.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22.

 

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