Wednesday, October 31, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
From a 3-point shooting contest, to coach John Shulman’s version of musical chairs, to a teed-up honorary coach, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s and women’s basketball fans got a good look at the 2012-13 version of Mocs hoops at McKenzie Arena Tuesday night during the Memorial Blue-Gold Tipoff presented by Praters.
In the men’s scrimmage, the Gold edged the Blue, 40-37, while the Gold was also triumphant in the women’s game, 21-19.
Men’s Game Gold 40, Blue 37: From Lithuania (Martynas Bareika, 6 pts.
) to Serbia (Drazen Zlovaric, 10 pts., 3 boards) to Knoxville (Ronrico White, 8 pts., 1 assist) it was a global effort in the Gold’s 40-37 win …
In the first 10 minutes – ending at 19 all – Zlovaric (8 points) keyed a late rally with three straight baskets to erase a 13-7 Blue lead . And it was Zlovaric’s slam dunk off a fast break pass from Alex Bran in the second half which gave the Gold a 33-27 lead..
The Blue squad was led by freshman point guard Farad Cobb (9 pts, 3 assists, 2 steals) and junior Z. Mason (8 pts., 3 boards, 1 block), but a practice player from Clarksville Academy – Montel Lavelanet nearly stole the show.
After Zlovaric’s slam to make it 33-27 for the Gold, Lavelanet went to work hitting on consecutive 3’s – the second off a steal – to even the count at 33-33.
The Gold went on a 7-4 run, including a Gee McGhee 3-pointer, to lead 40-37.
Honorary Blue coach John Prater called time out, designed a play for Lavelanet who missed a game-tying three at the buzzer but was fouled by Bran.
Honorary Gold coach Pam Henry received the "T" from an official late in the game, but she said coach Shulman was the guilty party.
With Lavelanet toeing the foul line, Mocs coach John Shulman let everyone in the house (1,000 fans) know that if he made all three charity tosses, the Gold team would have to run laps.
The Clarksville freshman missed the first free throw and the Gold team heaved a collective sigh of relief.
Highlights: At 6-5, Z. Mason hit a pair of 3’s in the first half … and had a nice turn around baseline jumper to give the Blue a 13-7 advantage at 4:24 … Zlovaric answered with three straight baskets of his own for the Gold … The six-foot Farad Cobb showed why he was Florida Class A player of the year as a junior as he hit a 3-pointer and then stole the ball at half court and made a game-tying lay-in for the Blue’s with two seconds remaining in the first half … In second half, Bareika grabbed an offensive rebound and quickly hit a turn around jumper for a 29-25 Gold lead … Lavelanet’s pair of 3s and a steal for the Blue’s…
Coach John Shulman Comments: “Keep it Simple … Inside-Out”.
“With eight freshmen and sophomores we want to keep it simple … with talented big men in Z. Mason (6-5) and Drazen Zlovaric (6-9) we must go ‘inside-out’ to be successful.”
While coach Shulman wants his players to look inside first, the pair of “Z-Men” also will be shooting beyond the arc.
Mason was 2-of-2 from beyond the arc in the scrimmage.
“I am comfortable with Z. (Mason) shooting outside, but I don’t want 3’s to be his first shots of the game. We will have some plays designed for him to get his 3’s.
“I like our identity, the kids are fun to be around and we are going to surprise some people.”
Z. Mason Comments: “I worked on my 3-point shooting a good deal this summer and I think it has paid off … Coach Shulman has more confidence in me on the outside at this point in the season than a year ago.”
Last season, Mason averaged 5.6 points and rebounds, shot 38.3% from the field and 16.7% from 3-point land.
“I wanted to come out strong tonight to set the tone for the younger players."
He opened with a pair of 3’s, followed by the turn around baseline jumper for a 13-7 lead plus a free throw for eight points.
“It was a good night of basketball for us, but it was also good to see our fans here and have them involved in the activities.
“But the highlight for me was seeing Montel (Lavelanet) light it up late in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers.”
Drazen Zlovaric Comments: “I have also been working on my outside shot as well as my free throws … I had a really bad year last season (55.4%).
“It’s kind of boring shooting free throws in the gym all summer, but it is what I make of it.”
More Athletic: Both “Z-Men” see this team as more athletic than the 2011-12 squad.
“We are more athletic this year which will cause more stops and conversely more transition baskets for us,” Zlovaric stated.
Women’s Game – Gold 21, Blue 19
Junior Ashlen Dewart scored the first six points for the Gold to lead that her team to a 21-19 win against the Blue.
She was 5-of-7 from the field with three rebounds and one assist. Teammate Ka’Vonne added six points (3-of-3 from the field) with Kylie Lambert and Tatianna Jackson two points each.
For the Blue, Faith DuPree was on target going 5-for-5 from the field (1, 3-pointer) for 11 points, while Alex Black and Taylor Hall added three points each.
Gold’s largest lead was five, 21-16, late in the game, while the Blue led by three, 13-10, before the Gold made an 11-6 run down the stretch.
There were seven lead changes and four tie scores.
Good Shooting: The Gold was 55.6% from the field (10-18), while the Blue was 53.3% (8-15).
Up Next: Thurs. Nov. 1 - The Lady Mocs host Lee University in an exhibition game at McKenzie Arena with tip-off at 7 p.m.
Season Opener: The season opener is Nov. 9 as the University of Tennessee comes to McKenzie Arena.
The “K’s” Have It: The Mocs roster shows a pair of Kayla’s (Christopher and Freeman), a Kyle (Lambert) and a Ka’Vonne (Towns).
A Team of Faith and Destiny: Coach Moore has Faith (Dupree) in his players to become a team of Destiny (Bramblett) come early March.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com