The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team rallied from a nine-point deficit in the first half to beat Jacksonville State 63-60 and win the lower-tier bracket of the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday in Niceville, Florida.
Matt Ryan and Jonathan Scott combined for 33 points to pace the Mocs (5-3) as they won the program's 37th regular-season tournament title.
Jacara Cross had a game-high 19 for the Gamecocks (2-4), with Ty Hudson adding 12.
"These guys are young," Mocs coach Lamont Paris, whose team defeated Alabama State in a semifinal Friday, said in a UTC release. "They're fragile at times. Just to see that number get flipped, there's no inspiration better than when you come out in the second half and take care of business like that."
The key spurt for the Mocs began with 7:05 to go in the first half as they trailed 23-14. UTC held the Gamecocks scoreless the rest of the half and took a 24-23 lead into the locker room. The Mocs' lead grew to 39-21 on two Stefan Kenic free throws with 4:28 left in the game before the Gamecocks rallied.
Cross scored three consecutive points to tie the game at 55 with 2:44 to play before Scott beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer for a lead the Mocs would not relinquish. David Jean-Baptiste's two free throws with 1.8 seconds to play iced the win and the title.
"Our execution was pretty good," Scott said. "We had a little problem getting to the ball, getting rebounds. We needed to do a little better in that regard. Our leadership is what stepped up. We played well when Matt was pushing us to be better, and that helped for sure."
The Mocs begin Southern Conference play Tuesday with a trip to Western Carolina before returning home to face Tennessee Wesleyan in another nonconference game Dec. 8.