BIRMINGHAM, Ala.---The UTC Mocs dropped into second-place in the Southern Conference after a 92-85 overtime loss at Samford. Chattanooga, 15-11 overall and 9-2 in league play, made a nice run in the final minutes of regulation to get into an extra period, but the host Bulldogs would not be denied this evening.
“Lucky to get to overtime,” Head Coach Will Wade said. ”We didn’t play very well in the second half. They out-toughed us on the glass, and that is embarrassing. We were lucky for a while there, and give our guys credit for making it to overtime.
“We just had too many lapses then and in the second half as a whole,” he added. “We were not mentally tough tonight.”
Samford led by as many eight in the second half and held a seven-point lead, 75-68, after two Isaiah Williams free throws with 1:37 to go in regulation. Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania) took over.
He drilled a three-pointer with 1:19 to go to cut it to four, 75-71. After a Mocs 30-second timeout, Samford’s Connor Miller turned the ball over on the inbounds play. Nine seconds later Bareika blew past Tim Williams to make it a two-point game, 75-73 with 1:10 to play.
Isaiah Williams made two more free tosses with 1:01 remaining but he fouled Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) with 52 seconds on the clock. White made both free throws to make it a two-point deficit again.
Good defensive pressure by Greg Pryor (Memphis, Tenn.) forced a travel by Brandon Roberts at the 40-second mark. Eric Robertson (Huntsville, Ala.) found Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) inside for the game-tying layup. Mason blocked a Tim Williams effort at the other end to send the game into overtime.
The Bulldogs scored the first five points of the extra period before Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) buried a three-pointer with 1:30 to go to cut the advantage to 82-80. Samford scored six unanswered points on three straight possessions to go 88-80 and hit its free throws down the stretch for the win.
McGhee led the Mocs with 21 points. White added 19 points and a career-high nine assists, while Casey Jones (New Orleans, La.) chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds tying career bests with three blocks and five steals.
Tim Williams paced the Bulldogs with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah Williams posted 20 points and five assists.
“Tim Williams was an intimidator tonight,” Wade said. “We were scared of him a little, and he imposed his will down there. Give him credit. He is a good post player. We tried to keep going at him and make him foul but we couldn’t. We didn’t go in there strong like we needed to.
“We were fading away from the basket and just didn’t get things done.”
Chattanooga got off to a good start. It led by 10, 22-12, on a three-pointer by McGhee with 10:05 to go in the first half. A three-pointer by Robertson at 3:44 made it a 10-point cushion again, 33-23, but the Bulldogs whittle the margin down to five at the break.
After three games in eight days, the Mocs play three over the next 15. It starts at home Thursday as Western Carolina comes to town for a 7 p.m., tip. Listen live on ESPN 105.1 FM the Zone in the Scenic City, or go to the men’s basketball schedule page on GoMocs.com for links to video (PPV), audio (free) and live stats.