The Chattanooga Mocs men's basketball team went cold in the second half as it capped of its three-game road trip with an 83-68 loss at Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon inside the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C.
Following the loss, Chattanooga falls to 12-13 overall and 4-8 inside SoCon play. WCU improved to 13-12 and 6-6 in league action after the victory.
After falling in a quick 25-11 hole during the game's first 10 minutes, Chattanooga rallied to cut the deficit to four, 37-33, at the break after finishing the half 6-of-12 (50.0%) from deep.
It was a tale of two halves as UTC finished the closing half just 10-of-34 (29.4%) from the field while WCU countered with an efficient 13-of-22 (59.1%) attack during the final 20 minutes.
"I think the guys are frustrated; I'm frustrated. I didn't think it was a lack of effort today, we just didn't play well today," said head coach Dan Earl following the game.
"We allowed them to shoot high percentages which is not good defensively, they made shots, and we did not execute offensively. We just didn't play well today. That guys are trying, they're practicing hard. We just haven't seen that pay off in games."
KC Hankton tied a career high with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting including a 4-of-6 mark from to while also setting a season best in rebounds with seven. Jamaal Walker posted his second-straight double-digit performance with 16 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Chattanooga and Western Carolina went over eight minutes without a media whistle to begin the game as the hosts built a sizable 22-10 lead behind four-of-eight start from deep. Down 25-11, UTC went on a 12-0 scoring run over a four-minute span to cut the deficit to two, 25-23 (4:37).
The Catamounts used a quick spurt to lead 37-30 with 57 seconds left in the opening half before a Dalvin White layup and a Jamaal Walker free throw closed the gap to 37-33 at the break. Chattanooga finished the half shooting 40.0% (12-of-30) from the floor and 50.0% (6-of-12) from deep.
Western Carolina opened the second half with a six-of-six start from the field to counter five KC Hankton points that allowed for a 50-40 advantage (16:29). The hot shooting continued for WCU over the next few possessions as the lead grew to 13, 55-42 (13:22).
The Catamounts continued to pull away from the Mocs down the stretch as the home team's lead grew to as much as 21, 71-51, with an even 4:00 left in the contest. WCU would fend off UTC in the game's final minutes to capture the 83-68 victory.
RECORDS/SERIES – Chattanooga 12-13, 4-8 SoCon · W. Carolina 13-12, 6-6 SoCon · Series: Chattanooga now leads the series 70-31.