published Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Mocs have fun in 98-48 win

  • photo
    Spalding's Jordan Rice (10) reaches in for the ball as Chattanooga's Drazen Zlovaric attempts to regain control in the lane during first half action Tuesday at McKenzie Arena.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

John Shulman coached it like any other game, even earning a technical foul.

He argued with the referees on questionable calls, screamed at players to get in position, barked out offensive sets and patted guys on the back.

He barely looked up at the scoreboard. It didn't matter. The Mocs were rolling from the opening tip of an 98-48 win over Division III Spalding University on Tuesday in McKenzie Arena.

This game mattered to the Mocs. It counts as a win for the season register but doesn't count toward the Southern Conference tournament or any other potential postseason excursions.

It mattered because the Mocs entered the game with two wins in nine tries -- and one came against a sub-NAIA-level school -- and they needed the exercise in execution.

"It's nice to see the guys smile for a change," Shulman said. "Smiles have been few and far between.

"Our team has been in a funk the whole year. I can't tell you that we're out of it, but it does feel better winning."

Dontay Hampton led six UTC double-figure scorers with a career-high 15 points. Drazen Zlovaric had 14. Ricky Taylor scored 13 and moved into the top 20 in UTC career scoring. Keegan Bell and Omar Wattad each had 12 points, and freshman Ronrico White scored 11.

Tyler St. Julian led Spalding (1-7) with 11 points.

"It was to worry about us and to get better," Bell said. "It's important to have a feel-good after the game."

The Mocs had first-half leads of 20-6, 38-12 and finally 48-17 at intermission. The Mocs took no pity on the Golden Eagles, who have played the likes of Victory College, Westminster College and Indiana-Souteast.

Spalding, coached by former UTC star player and assistant coach Kevin Gray, had 17 turnovers in the first half and shot 26.1 percent from the floor.

Gray's players were outmanned when they stepped into a spacious McKenzie Arena, much like Warren Wilson when UTC beat that school 88-36.

The second half unfolded much like the first -- UTC slamming Spalding.

Shulman called off the dogs with eight minutes to go and the Mocs up 50 points by going with all reserves and playing a 2-3 zone.

He kept coaching and earned a technical foul while seated on the bench. Then he laughed with assistant coaches seated next to him.

"We've been under some stress -- maybe self-induced," Shulman said. "It was nice to see guys have fun, have success and smile. It was just nice to have some success, I don't care if it was [Shulman boys] Max, Tanner and J.C."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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