Grab the stinking ball.
Rebound it. Clutch it. Go get it. Pull it off the glass.
That's what the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga failed to do in the final minutes and closing seconds of a 76-74 loss to Gardner-Webb in overtime on Sunday in McKenzie Arena.
Gardner-Webb junior Max Landis missed a 3-pointer with five seconds to go in a tied overtime game. UTC couldn't corral the rebound.
The ball bounced to Tashan Newsome who grabbed the Bulldogs' 18th offensive rebound and laid it in for a two-point lead with 2.4 seconds to go.
"It bounced my way, I snatched it and proceeded to make the basket," Newsome said. "The tougher team won tonight. Definitely. I think our energy and effort showed, and we won the 50-50 balls and were very active for the whole game. I think that was the difference."
UTC senior point guard Keegan Bell launched a half-court shot that rocketed off the rim at the horn resulting in the Mocs' fourth loss of the season and the second during a four-game homestand.
Gardner-Webb (3-5) grabbed 18 offensive rebounds -- including eight in the final 3 minutes, 4 seconds of regulation, and another three in overtime -- and scored 17 second-chance points.
"If we could have rebounded the ball, we would have won by 10," UTC coach John Shulman said. "We had a great defensive scheme and kids followed it to a T. We did a great job on [Jason] Dawson, did a nice job on [Max] Landis. We couldn't go get a rebound.
"All rebounding is, is want-to. You can teach a kid to box-out. It's disappointing."
Gardner-Webb sophomore center Mike Byron set career highs with 18 points and 13 rebounds including seven on the offensive end. Landis added 17 points and Newsome had five points, and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
"This is a position we should have been pretty good at tonight boys, but he had 18 and 13, and seven offensive rebounds," Shulman said. "I don't care if Drazen is not a 5 or a 4 or a 3. I'll fight him before he gets seven offensive rebounds.
"That was an embarrassing effort on the glass."
Senior Ricky Taylor, who was re-inserted into the starting lineup Sunday, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Bell had 17 points and five assists, and Zlovaric had 14 points and five rebounds. Chris Early, who also re-joined the starters, had 7 points and five rebounds despite an illness.
It wasn't enough.
UTC (2-4) trailed Gardner-Webb 35-32 after a first-half that mimicked the first 20 minutes of Friday's 65-63 win over Savannah State so much that UTC's first half shooting statistics were identical -- 9-of-30.
The Mocs trailed 54-43 on Sunday before holding the Bulldogs scoreless for more than six minutes to claim a 57-54 advantage with 7:11 to play in regulation. The outcome remained in doubt from there on.
Landis sank two free throws to tie the game at 66 with 16 seconds to play. Bulldogs coach Chris Holtmann called timeout which allowed him to set his defense and for Shulman to design a play.
It didn't work.
The horn sounded just after Bell attempted an awkward driving hook shoot because junior Drazen Zlovaric missed his assignment on the designed play.
"We ran a B-play to get something at the end of regulation, but somebody forgot the play from the time we left the huddle to the court," Shulman said. "Forgot the play. Hard to win games when you forget from A to B."
That play likely impacted the outcome. But that mistake could have been overcome by grabbing any number of rebounds that the Bulldogs pulled in.
"I think we went into overtime a little frustrated because we had one play screwed up, one of our players didn't run what we were supposed to run, so it was demoralizing, and we felt that we lost it ourselves right there," Bell said. "I think that we came out into overtime frustrated.
"You have to cut that off and act like it's a five minute game, and we didn't do that well."
The Mocs have now lost four of their five games against Division I opponents and will open their Southern Conference season on Thursday at Georgia Southern.
They are scheduled to re-convene today for an afternoon practice and reflect on how they turned a victory into a loss.
"The other team wanted it more," said Shulman, who smacked the table during his post-game news conference. "What else more can you say? We got our tails kicked inside. We had multiple chances to rebound the ball and multiple chances to win the game.
"Nobody rebounded the ball. What do you do?"
Grab the stinking ball.
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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