Saturday, March 1, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
"You always want to send your seniors out on a high note and we did that for Z Mason tonight."
-- UTC coach Will Wade after UTC's 63-44 win against Appalachian State
Chattanooga senior Z Mason went out in style tonight as the Nashville native totaled 24 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in leading the Mocs to a 63-44 Southern Conference win against visiting Appalachian State Saturday night.
Mason was complemented by Gee McGhee (11 pts., 5 rebs), Ronrico White (10 pts., 4 rebs, 3 assists) and Casey Jones (6 pts., 10 rebs).
The Mountaineers were led by Michael Obacha (11 pts., 7 rebs) and Tommy Spagnolo (9 pts., 2 rebs) and Ty Toney (8 pts., 7 rebs, 3 assists, 2 blocks).
With the win, the Mocs (18-13, 12-4) secured the No.2 seed in next week's Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C. and will play Saturday against the Ga. Southern-Furman winner.
"It was important for us to secure the No.2 seed tonight as it gives us a day off on Friday," said Mason. "Not having to play the first day is a great plus for us."
First Half: App State (9-20, 5-11) held its largest lead of the game at 12-8 at 14:09 on a made free throw by Michael Obacha, but the Mocs went on a 12-0 run over the next 3:16 for a 20-12 advantage as Mason scored four and White connected on a pair of 3-pointers and two charity tosses.
The Mountaineers did pull within two, four times before intermission, but could never gain a tie or the lead the remainder of the night.
UTC led 35-30 at intermission.
Second Half: A strong Mocs defense held App State to 14 points (4 field goals) as the victors pulled down 32 boards, and out scored the visitors, 18-2, on second chance points.
"We were able to get several stops in succession and several times they had only one shot at the basket before we were going the other way," said White.
Tough Home Court: "I want to thank our fans for supporting us all season as we want to make this place (McKenzie Arena) an intimidating and tough place to play," said UTC coach Will Wade.
"We were 7-1 at home in conference play and 12-2 against all opponents which is really good and we want to play 16-17 home games next year."
Coach Will Wade on Tonight's Game - Two Goals:
"Our goals for tonight were to send Z out on a high note and secure the No.2 seed in the Southern Conference tournament and we accomplished both.
"Z has been tremendous, we hate to lose a good player and good ambassador for the university. He deserves every honor he receives."
Good D: - Appalachian State’s 44 points are a season-low allowed by UTC and the fewest for the
Mountaineers in a SoCon game since a 76-43 loss at Chattanooga on Jan. 11,
Big Cheer For Houts: Junior Andrew Houts (Trenton, Ga./Dade Co. HS) made a crowd-pleasing, teammates-applauding spin shot off the backboard and in for the Mocs final basket with 11 seconds remaining. Houts now has scored in four of the nine games he has played in.
Coach Wade on Houts: "Andrew works hard in practice and helps us get ready for our opponents. I was glad to see him get in the books with a basket."
18 Wins: The last time a UTC team had 18 wins was the 2008-09 squad under John Shulman which won the SoCon tournament.
Chattanooga 63, Appalachian State 44
App State 30 - 14 -- 44
UTC 35 - 28 -- 63
UTC (18-13, 12-4), App State (9-20, 5-11)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com