Thursday, February 28, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
Last Friday Chattanooga men’s basketball assistant coach Casey Long believed the UTC players needed to re-focus their efforts.
Less than 24 hours after the team’s embarrassing , uninspired, 94-68, home loss to UNC-Greensboro last Thursday night, coach Long preached about why the players are here and what they are playing for.
“I reminded them that this program has a rich tradition of winning and that they owe it to the coaches and those who have come before them to play with a purpose, a passion and sense of urgency,” said the first year assistant coach.
The Mocs took those words to heart and to the court as they played an inspired brand of basketball Saturday night in an impressive 72-68 triumph against Northern Division leader Elon.
“I told them that when I played here for coach John Shulman our number one focus and goal was to win the conference and make the NCAA tournament which we did my sophomore year in 2005,” Long stated.
Mocs at Western Carolina: The Mocs (7-9) must carry that same purpose and intensity from last week into tonight’s road game (7 p.m. 105.1 FM ESPN The Zone) at Western Carolina (8-8) where they have not won since Feb. 12, 2007.
Battling for a Tourney Bye: UTC and Catamounts are two of four teams fighting for the fourth and final first round bye in next week’s Southern Conference tournament.
Samford (9-7) needs one win secure the spot and is at Appalachian State (8-8) tonight, while UTC and W.C. go at it in Cullowhee, N.C.
For the Mocs to have a chance at the bye, they have to win both games this weekend (at App State on Saturday), Samford has to lose twice, thus giving App State and Western Carolina a two-game split and all four teams would be finish at 9-9. In that scenario, UTC would have swept the series with Samford and App. State and split with Western Carolina.
The Last Time …: It’s been 20 years since UTC has won road games at App State and Western Carolina in the same season (1992-93) … ironically, that season, UTC won the SoCon title in Asheville, N.C. where next week’s tournament will be played.
Coach Long Knows Road Wins: Coach Long was the Mocs starting point guard the last time UTC won at App. State (Jan. 2006) and Western Carolina(Feb. 2007).
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com