Kennesaw State Tops UTC, 73-69

Late Rally Falls Short

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

In game of hustle, determination and comebacks,but also key mistakes down the stretch produced a 73-69 UTC loss to visiting Kennesaw (Ga.) State Tuesday at McKenzie Arena in a men's college basketball game.

Playing before 3,028 in attendance, the Mocs (2-2) were led by Gee McGhee with 18 points, followed by Casey Jones (17), Z Mason (14) and Greg Pryor (10).

The visiting Owls (2-4) were led by Yonel Brown with a game high 21 points, followed by Bernard Morana with 15 and Nigel Pruitt with 13.

Trailing by nine (62-53) at 9:40, UTC outscored the Owls 15-6 to tie the game at 68-68 at 2:51. McGhee had seven points and Mason with four, including a jumper at 3:23 to make it 68-68.

But three turnovers in the final 1:47 and a missed free throw for the lead (69-69) by Casey Jones kept the game out of reach.

A resounding dunk by Willy Kouassi gave with 20 seconds remaining gave KSU its final lead at 71-69 and two free throws by Nigel Pruitt with two seconds remaining followed an Eric Robertson turnover and Pruitt steal two seconds earlier.

The Mocs never led in the second half (ties at 68-68 and 70-70) and last held the lead 12-10 in the first half (12:34) on a Mason layup.

"Our guys batted hard, did a phenominal job on the boards, but needed a little more poise down the stretch as we had too many turnovers in trying to make something happen," said UTC coach Will Wade.

The Mocs out rebounded the taller Owls, 48-30, including a 16-9 advantage on the offensive glass, but had seven more turnovers (22-15).

"The comeback was credited to our effort as we crashed the boards, but too many turnovers cost us," said Z Mason who had six boards, three blocks and a steal, to complement his 14 points.

"If you told me before the game that we would out-rebound them by 18 I never would have believed you," said the 6-5 Mason who noted that the Owls line up included 6-8 (Morena), 6-9 (Andrew Osemhen 2 pts., 1 reb.) and  6-10 (Willy Kouassi, 6 pts, 6 rebs.), while UTC's tallest player is true freshman T.J. Williams (4 pts., 4 rebs.) at 6-8 and Lance Stokes (2 pts., 4 rebs.) at 6-7.

First Half: The Mocs opened quickly with two baskets by freshman point guard Greg Pryor, but Kennesaw State tied the game five times before taking the lead for good at 17-16 on a free throw by Morena. KSU led 38-37 at intermission. UTC's McGhee had 10 points and 7 boards in the first 20 minutes and ended with 18 points and 10 boards.

Quotes by Will Wade: "We did a good job in the paint (52 pts to 42) ... were all over the glass (48-30 in rebounds) and the game was there for the taking ... we were sloppy in transition as they had too many easy baskets ... got to get better with out half court defense ...  guys really battled, but we left some plays out there in the last few minutes." 

Points:  Points in the Paint: UTC (52-42), Points Off Turnovers - KSU (22-15), 2nd Chance Pts. - KSU (18-16), Fast Break Pts.  - UTC (14-8)

Honoring Darrell Patterson: at halftime, UTC recognized longtime Ch. 9 sports director Darrell Patterson for nearly 40 years in television ... Patterson, who retires Dec. 12, was presented with a framed No.40 jersey. 

Off to the West Coast: UTC has a four-game road trip (Nov.22-29), including a game with UCLA in Pauley Pavilion (The House John Wooden Built) and two games in Las Vegas.

Next Home Game: The Mocs host Hiwassee, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Kennesaw State 73, Chattanooga 69.

Kenn State  38-35 -- 73

UTC 37-32-- 69

 Records: KSU (2-4)    UTC (2-2)

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net 

 



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