Sunday, January 26, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
“We were left for dead a month ago and our guys know that.
We have won the second game of back to backs because of the hard work we put
them threw in the summer."
-- UTC men's basketball coach Will Wade
The Chattanooga Mocs were 4-8 a week before Christmas, and “left
for dead” according to Chattanooga basketball coach Will Wade.
After tonight’s 77-67 home win against UNC-Greensboro, the
Blue and Gold (14-4 overall) are very much alive and well and holders of a 10-game
winning streak, sitting atop the Southern Conference at 8-0.
“UNCG has two big inside guys (Kayel Cain and Kyle Cain) and
a great shooter in Nick Poulus so I feel this was a gritty, blue collar win,”
Playing before 6,648 fans, the Mocs held Poulus to five points and only one 3-pointer,
while Locke and Cain totaled 25 points and 11 boards.
But UTC countered with Casey Jones (22 pts.), Z Mason (15
pts./6 rebs.), Marty Bareika (12 pts.) and Ronrico White (11 pts.)
While the Mocs had the four players scoring in double
figures, coach Wade pointed to Lance Stokes who stepped up big.
“Lance was the player of the game and the unsung hero with
seven points and eight boards, with good energy and solid defense in the post. He
was relentless and active on the glass.”
First Half: The Mocs led by 11 at intermission (39-28), outshot the visitors 46.7% to 34.4%, made their free throws (9-11) and allowed
UNCG only one 3-pointer (Poulus).
The first 20 minutes showed two tie scores
and six lead changes. The Mocs took their final lead of the half at 10-9 on a
Eric Robertson layup at 13:59 and led by as many as 13 at 37-24 on a Lance
Stokes free throw.
Second Half: UTC leading by 11, 39-28 … UNCG opened with a
12-1 run as Locke and Saddler combined for eight points as the game was tied
40-40 at 16:32.
“Basketball is a game of runs and we were able to slow them
down some,” Wade stated. “Our guys don’t have much panic in them.”
For a 10-minute window (16:17 – 6:32) the teams had five tie
scores and three lead changes with the Spartans holding its final lead at 56-55
on a Cain free throw.
Then the Mocs turned it on, on both ends of the floor, outscoring
the visitors 18-6 to lead by 10 at 73-63 on two free throws by Jones with 1:22
remaining. Bareika’s 3 from the left wing capped a 7-0 stretch (in that 18-6 run)
and brought the cheering crowd to its feet
The Mocs closed out the game with four free throws.
“We are winning the second game of
back-to-back games because of how hard we worked in the summer thanks to Greg
Goldin our strength coach,” stated Wade.
“Our players were thinking ‘who is this crazy guy who is
running us at 6 a.m. in the summer?’
“Our level of expectations has been raised 10 fold.”
The Mocs have won five straight, back end games of back-to-back series to comprise the 10-0 run.
Attendance: 6,648 is the largest crowd in McKenzie Arena since 9,234 came out on January 28, 2009 when Stephen Curry and Davidson came to town.
“I want to thank the fans,” Head Coach Will Wade said. “They were awesome. The sides were full and some of the upper deck. It was just a tremendous environment for college basketball."
Chattanooga 77, UNCG 67
UNCG 28 - 39 -- 67
UTC 39 - 38 -- 77
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org