CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Freshman Kevin Easley tossed in a career-high 26 points and tied his career best with eight rebounds to propel Chattanooga to an 83-65 victory over VMI in a Southern Conference opener on Sunday.
Easley sank 10 of 15 shots to help the Mocs (5-5) win their conference opener for a fifth time in six seasons. The previous five openers were on the road. The last time Chattanooga opened SoCon play against VMU was during the 1980-81 season and the Mocs went on to claim their first regular-season and tournament titles.
David Jean-Baptiste had 18 points, six rebounds and five assists for Chattanooga, while Jerry Johnson Jr. pitched in 17 points, six assists and five boards. Jonathan Scott scored 11 with five assists.
The Mocs held SoCon leading scorer Bubba Parham to 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Garrett Gilkeson totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Keydets (5-6). Myles Lewis added 12 points and seven boards.
VMI, which trailed 48-39 at halftime, struggled from 3-point range - making 6 of 23 tries (26 percent). Chattanooga sank 13 of 34 from distance (38 percent).