published Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Terrier trouble: Wofford routs UTC at home

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    Staff photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press - UTC's Keegan Bell passes the ball Wofford's Noah Dahlman reaches Wednesday at McKenzie Arena.

A "Black-Out" worked for the Mocs on Monday when they knocked off Furman.

But Wofford knocked out the Mocs early on Wednesday in an 97-58 win for the defending Southern Conference champions.

"I think it was a perfect storm for us to win," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "Furman came in here and [UTC] had to win and they were terrific. They played with such energy and it was an emotionally taxing night for the Mocs.

"Boy, it's hard to get back on that cloud 48 hours later."

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga played one of its worse offensive halves of the season and put its hopes for a Southern Conference North Division championship in serious jeopardy.

"They have our number and whipped us for the second straight time," coach John Shulman said. "One night we look like the Globetrotters and the next night we look like the Generals."

Noah Dahlman led the Terriers with 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and Cameron Rundles added 21 points including five of Wofford's 11 3-pointers.

Chris Early led UTC with 13 points, all of which were scored in the second half. Sophomore Dontay Hampton set a career high with 12 points and Keegan Bell added 10 points.

"We got whipped in every facet," Shulman said. "Offensively we couldn't move to get open. Defensively we couldn't move. We got dominated on the glass."

With the loss, UTC needs to win Saturday at Samford and have Western Carolina lose Thursday to The Citadel and again Saturday to the College of Charleston.

If WCU wins one of those games, the Mocs will earn the No. 2 seed form the North Division for the SoCon tournament which begins March 4 in McKenzie Arena.

"You talk about winning a ring and you play like that?" Shulman said. "It ain't no perfect storm when you're playing for a ring. To leave your legacy at UTC you have to win regular season championships and go to the NCAA tournament."

UTC could face Wofford (17-12, 13-4 SoCon) in its SoCon tourney opener depending on how the rest of the regular-season games play out.

Wednesday's loss turned into a blowout before halftime, much like their previous meeting this season in which Wofford led by 16 at the half and by 42 in the second half.

"I'm as surprised as anybody," Young said. "We knew it would be a hard-fought game."

But it wasn't.

The Mocs (15-15, 11-6) started all four seniors -- Jeff Smith, Troy Cage, DeAntre Jefferson and Jeremy Saffore -- on Senior Night with Jefferson playing out of position. That worked fine for UTC as they led 9-8 less than three minutes into the game.

But then UTC scored only one point over the next eight minutes and were down 27-10 before Keegan Bell scored on a difficult drive.

Wofford expanded its lead to 35-14 with 5:40 to go in the half. The Terriers largest lead was 45-19 before Hampton scored on a putback at the buzzer to get UTC within 45-21 at halftime.

The Mocs shot just 8-of-30 from the floor , 2-of-18 from the 3-point line, and were out-rebounded 27-14 before the break.

Wofford pushed its lead to 31 less than seven minutes into the second half and never let UTC think of continuing its undefeated SoCon home record.

"It's a major disappointment for this entire basketball organization," guard Ricky Taylor said. "We have to find that willpower that's in us."

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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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Stewwie said...

Bottom line is that Wofford played like an inspired, motivated team last night and the Mocs didn't. Many times, for example, the Mocs would be in position for a rebound or loose ball, but the Terriers wanted it more and would beat us to it.

Shulman chose to double the post a lot, which Wofford countered by swinging the ball to the weakside guard who would bury a 3. It might be worth letting Dahlman put up 40 against us and just staying home on their shooters.

Omar and Ricky have to come alive on the perimeter. Jefferson needs to be taking more than 2 shots and scoring more than 1 point for the Mocs to have a chance. Keegan must have felt like he had to create something offensively and ended up forcing his last 9 (of 11) 3s. Those were not good shots but the blame goes all around for that. Sure Wofford played good D, but you have to fight through it.

The good news in all of this is that there's still time to turn things around although the tourney is almost here. Wofford may not ever shoot that well in the Roundhouse again, but we've got to get inspired and motivated to play 40 minutes with the best of them if we're going to have a chance to win the conference.

February 24, 2011 at 2:36 p.m.
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