UTC Stuns Elon, 84-63

UTC Improves to 7-0 in SoCon

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

"It's a dagger ... it didn't shake us, but it's still a dagger."

 -- Elon coach Matt Matheny describing Gee McGhee's beyond half court shot that went in at the end of the first half.

It was CHAOS at its best.

It was Chattanooga basketball at its best. 

With Z Mason (27 points) scoring inside and outside and cleaning the boards (game high 11 rebs), Ronrico White hitting timely 3s (3) for 13 points and an effective in-your face man to man defense, the Mocs defeated Elon, 84-63.

In a key Southern Conference game and playing before a loud, home crowd of 4,662, the Mocs improve to 13-10 overall and more importantly stay unbeaten in league play at 7-0.

The Last Time ... a Mocs team was 7-0 in the SoCon was 2010-11 ... the last time the Mocs were 8-0 in league play was 1984-85 as UTC opened 9-0 on the way to 14-2 in the regular season.

The taller Elon team (10-10, 3-2) came out hot going 5-7 from the field in the first four minutes, to lead 12-4 but the hot shooting cooled off and the lead went away as the Mocs got hot and led by three at 31-28 with 3:39 before half and by nine at intermission, 41-32.

"We started slow, but settled in," said UTC coach Will Wade. "It was a good win ... a complete game."

The Butler Prayer that Was Answered: A hint that this was the Mocs night, came as Gee McGhee did a Gordon Hayward (2010 NCAA finals half court prayer that was answered "No") look-alike 55-foot bank shot at the buzzer, but this one went in as the the UTC players raced to the locker room in excitement holding a nine point advantage.

"Making that shot at the end of the half is indescribable," said McGhee who had 13 points, five boards and two steals on the night.

"I have hit a half court shot before (43 feet), but never one from that far out." 

The Mocs led by eight with the clock running down, but Elon’s Sebastian Koch hit a baseline jumper with a free throw coming to cut the deficit to five.

But he missed the charity toss, UTC’s Lance Stokes gathered in the rebound, hit an open McGhee with an outlet pass who made the ESPN Highlight show-type shot from the right sideline to electrify the already supportive, home crowd.

"Sometimes a shot like Gee made can work against you, but in the first six minutes of the second half, we answered the bell with some good stops and key baskets," said Wade. 

Second Half: The Mocs didn't rest on the excitement of the McGhee shot at the start of the second half and extended the halftime lead from nine to 15 - 49-34 at 15:48 - in less than five minutes. McGhee continued his hot shooting with another 3-pointer and three free throws, while Mason had the other two.

Clutch Shooting: When Elon would make a big basket and gain some momentum, UTC would answer.

* Trailing by 11 at 17:53, Elon's Troutman blocked a Casey Jones shot then hit Koch for a running layin to cut the lead again to nine, 43-34.

But 20 seconds later, McGhee put another dagger in the heart of the Phoenix with his second of two, 3s to make it a 12-point lead and the visitors would never reduce the lead to single digits again.

* Trailing by 19 at 13:08, Elon's Tanner Samson hit a 3, but UTC's Jones answered with a jumper (2 pts.) of his own on the Mocs' next possession to lead 57-39.

* Trailing by 22 (61-39) at 11:11, Kevin Blake had a resounding dunk over White followed by a made free throw to make it 61-42, but Mason squelched any notion of a run at the Mocs as he scored eight straight points on a 3-pointer, two jumpers and a free throw for a 15-point advantage at 69-44 at 9:21.

While the 6-6 Mason was more than the taller Elon front line (six guys, 6-7 or taller who played) could handle, it was a total team effort.

McGhee led in steals (2) and free throws (7-8), Casey Jones in blocks (3) and assists (5), Ronrico White in 3-pointers (3-5).

Yet, Mason was the difference.

He out-hustled taller foes for loose balls (four offensive rebounds), made layups, hit fade away jumpers and 3-point shots.

The game was won on both ends of the floor by the Mocs – rebounds (35-25), shooting (47.1% to 42.0%), blocks (6-3) and steals (4-2).

Elon was led by Luke Eddy and Koch (11 points each) and Koch with five boards. Center Lucas Troutman had 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks.

"Troutman is a very good player and we were able to make it tough on him to catch the ball as we had a body on him at all times," said coach Wade.

The 6-10 senior came into the game averaging 16.2 ppg, and 6.3 rbpg.

Mason's Birthday Present: Wearing bright green shoes for the first time, Mason recorded his 17th career double-double (points/rebounds) and passes assistant coach Johnny Taylor on the UTC career list and is now six behind school record holder Keith Nelson with 23 (1991-92) .. "I bought them over the weekend... they are a birthday present to myself." ... Mason turned 23 on Tuesday.

What's Next - Saturday at Home: UTC hosts UNC-Greensboro (10-11, 3-3), an 88-78 loser to Samford tonight.

Saturday's games -

4 p.m. - UTC women vs. Samford  ESPN3

7 p.m. -  UTC men vs. UNC-Greensboro

Coach Will Wade on UNCG --

"They are a good team with two solid post players (Kyle Cain, Kayel Locke) and a big time shooter (Nicholas Paulos, 10.6 ppg) ... We will have to work on keeping the ball out of the post."

Kyle Cain is eighth in the league in scoring (15.9 ppg) and is second in the league in rebounding (9.0) behind UTC's Mason ...  Kayel Locke (12.5 ppg)

Chattanooga 84, Elon 63

Elon   32 - 31 -- 63

UTC  41 - 43 -- 84

Attendance: 4,662

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


Willerson, Georgia Northwestern Ready For 2014 Golf Season

Most second-year college golf programs are too busy laying a foundation to concern themselves too much with results. Jared Willerson isn’t thinking that way. In fact, the head coach of the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats is thinking in complete opposite terms when he talks about his team’s goals for the 2014-2015 season. “I don’t think I’m being unrealistic ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Splits Volleyball Tri-Match At Crown College

Head Coach Carrie Powell and the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team traveled to Powell, Tenn. on Saturday for a season-opening tri-match against Alice Lloyd College and host Crown College. The Navy-and-White lost their first match of the day to the home team in heartbreaking fashion, three games to one. GNTC claimed a 25-22 victory in the first set and had their ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)