published Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Wildcats make UTC pay

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The Mocs broke their trend of blowing big leads. They also broke their streak of winning.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga suffered from foul trouble, an ejection and poor shooting in a 73-59 Southern Conference basketball loss Saturday night at Davidson.

"I was disappointed with the flow of the game," UTC coach John Shulman said. "I'm not sure what that was out there. Personally, I don't think that's a basketball game. That was a wrestling match and we don't have wrestlers. We have basketball players."

Omar Wattad led UTC with 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including six 3-pointers. But the rest of the team shot 25.6 percent and was 0-for-17 on 3s.

"Omar Wattad had a terrific performance," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "This is a talented Chattanooga program. They have three players who were at BCS programs.

"To hold them to [34.5] percent shooting is a great statement."

J.P. Kuhlman and Nik Cochran led Davidson (12-12, 6-7) with 16 points each. Brendan McKillop scored 12 points, and Jake Cohen had 10 points and nine rebounds.

"I think they're an aggressive team," said Mocs center DeAntre Jefferson, who had two fouls in two first-half minutes. "They don't care about fouling. They want to set the tone. They attacked us."

Jeremy Saffore and Jahmal Burroughs each had three first-half fouls, which forced the Mocs to slowtheir offense and play Burroughs and Chris Early as co-centers for several minutes.

"They're mentally tough and physically though, and that's their game," Jefferson said.

The result of foul trouble and poor shooting from both teams was a 28-all tie at halftime.

Another second-half drought for UTC put the Mocs out of contention. They went nearly four minutes with just one point, which allowed Davidson to turn a 39-38 edge into a 10-point lead. Then a 12-2 run gave the Wildcats a 63-44 lead with 7:50 to play and ended UTC's hopes of a four-game win streak.

"I thought we came out with really good energy and fed off our home fans really well," Cohen said. "It started on defense with getting stops. Then you're in the open court. Getting stops led to good offense."

Early earned a flagrant foul and an ejection with 10:05 to go in the game and the Wildcats leading by 10. Referee Rick Pate said Early "sized [Cohen] up and hit him in the neck."

Said Cohen: "I saw the shot go up and I went to rebound and I'm not sure what hit me, but next thing I'm on the floor."

Shulman said he will take a look at the play, as well as others from Saturday night, before deciding on any procedural step. Early may not participate at Western Carolina on Thursday.

"You don't sit the next game for a flagrant foul; you sit the next game for a fight," Shulman said. "[Matt] Gwynne had a flagrant here and we made the decision to sit him. But first I have to look at the play."



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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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