Tuesday, December 10, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
This was supposed to be a breather for Chattanooga.
At home, and having played the likes of UCLA and Georgia on the road, the fourth overall meeting with Hiwassee College was, on paper, to be a relatively “easy” win.
Remember, Chattanooga had beaten the Tigers by 54 (95-41) just two Decembers ago.
But that was then and this is now.
Although the 4-6 Mocs won, 86-68, the W didn’t come easy this time.
No 50 point lead on this cold December eve.
The Mocs led by only three – 39-36 – at intermission, but quickly went up by 10 at the 17 minute mark, and by 17 at the 10 minute mark on the way to the 18-point victory .
Senior Z Mason had a career best 41 points along with 12 rebounds (8th career double-double), while Casey Jones tossed in 17 and Marty Bareika had 10.
Howie Meadows led the Tigers with 26 (8, 3s) and Justin Browner scored 13, plus four assists and three steals.
The Mocs ended the night shooting 56.1% (32-57) and won the battle of the boards (43-26).
"Outside of Z and Casey I am hard pressed to find a lot of positives from tonight," said UTC coach Will Wade.
"Our effort defensively was not there. We couldn't guard the ball and left shooters free."
Tough First Half: Combine recently completed exams, sloppy play (nine turnovers), tight calls and good shooting by the visitors (52% and a 36-32 lead at 1:49), the Mocs had to fight through a 5 for 16 free throw exhibition to gain the lead at intermission.
The 1-9 Tigers from Madisonville, Tenn gave the Blue and Gold all it could handle in the first 18 minutes, led by as many as six in the first half , shot 46.4% from the field in the opening 20 minutes and 53.8% from 3-pt land.
Much of the Tigers success came on the hot had of former Meigs County High School star Howie Meadows who was 5 of 8 from downtown for 15 first half points.
While noting the Mocs lack of effort and being mentally sharp, he also noted Hiwassee's ability to stay in the game.
"Give them credit as they broke us down off the dribble, he took advantage of our mistakes and that gave them confidence."
Next Game: The Mocs will need confidence and plenty of effort as they travel to Northern Kentucky Sunday for a noon tip-off followed by an 8 p.m. contest at UAB on Dec. 18.
Game Stats: Largest Lead: Hiwassee by 6 at 33-27 (4:13) UTC by 23 at 80-57 (4:14)
Rebounds: UTC, 48-26 ... Steals: Hiwassee, 8-7 ... Turnovers: Hiwassee, 19-17 ... Assists: UTC, 19-11
Assists: UTC - Gee McGhee (6), Greg Pryor (4) Hiwassee - Joel Bailey (6)
Steals: UTC, Gee McGhee (3) ... Hiwassee - Justin Browner and Joel Bailey (3)
FG%: UTC, 56.1%-42.6% ... FT%: Hiwasee, 66.7%-53.6% 3-Pt %: Hiwassee, 50%-43.8%
Casey Jones: "Our effort - it was bad ... We didn't come out aggressive as we let people go by us on defense ... I am mad at our overall effort ... not good at all."
2-Man Show: In a 17-minute stretch - from the 3:36 mark of the first half to the 14:07 mark of the second half - Mason and Jones scored all 27 points as UTC went from down 6 (36-30) to up 14 (57-43) ...
93-1: UTC's record against non-D-I schools since the move to D-I from D-II for the 1977-78 season ... lone loss was to Southern Poly, 73-69, Dec. 16, 1999 at home.
Chattanooga 86, Hiwassee 68
Hiwassee 36 - 32 -- 68
Chattanooga 39 - 47 -- 86
Records: UTC (4-6) Hiwassee (1-9)0
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com