Davidson can add the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to a list of victims that includes Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
UTC can include the Wildcats in a list that includes Troy, Louisiana Tech and Southeast Missouri -- teams that have toppled the Mocs in the first two weeks of the basketball season.
This was different. Davidson dominated from the outset in its 81-55 win Saturday night at UTC's McKenzie Arena. This one may also sting the Mocs (2-5, 0-1) in March when Southern Conference tournament seedings are determined.
"We just played the best team in the league, and we're not close to that at this moment," UTC coach John Shulman said. "It's our first league game and we didn't answer the bell. We looked dazed and scared in the first half.
"You saw an experienced team versus a very inexperienced team."
Tyler Kalinowski scored 15 points, De'Mon Brooks scored 14, Clint Mann had 13 and Jake Cohen added 12 for the Wildcats (4-3, 1-0). The Mocs were led by 15 points from freshman Gee McGhee and 14 from junior Zaccheus Mason.
The sting of a thumping will last at least throughout the week as the Mocs prepare for finals and then Eastern Kentucky next Saturday.
"I'm just angry because I feel like we could have won the game," McGhee said. "I didn't expect it to get that out of hand. I don't think we played to our potential tonight."
The UTC freshmen learned a few of the differences between playing nonconference foes and a SoCon game -- against the defending champion and preseason favorite to win the league again.
"They're a great team and we're not a real great team at this moment," Shulman said. "Our young guys got taught a lesson tonight."
The Wildcats established their dominance early. They never let UTC take a lead. The best part of the first half for UTC was getting two fouls on Brooks in the first eight minutes. The reigning SoCon player of the year was relegated to the role of cheerleader.
Mason took advantage of Brooks' absence and scored 12 points in the first half.
The rest of the Wildcats barely missed a beat. Already ahead 19-12, they reeled off a 16-5 run that included four 3-point baskets in a five-minute span. UTC inched to within 39-26 by halftime.
"We were on our heels the whole half," Shulman said. "I said let's battle, let's fight."
The Mocs stopped Davidson on two possessions early in the second half and had a chance to get their deficit into single digits. But Ronrico White turned it over in traffic going to the bucket, starting a string of seven empty possessions as Davidson eased out to its second 16-point lead of the game with 13 minutes to play.
An offensive drought plagued UTC throughout the second half. The Mocs went more than six minutes without a field goal and hit just three free throws in that stretch. They fell behind 58-37 with less than 10 minutes to play -- a total of eight points for UTC in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The Wildcats increased their lead to 25 with more than seven minutes to go, pleasing a contingent of about 75 fans clad in red-and-black. The lead expanded to 31 with 1:45 to go -- the largest deficit UTC has faced this season.
"It stings right now," Shulman said. "It's embarrassing. If you're an athlete, you may have nights like this. That's why some nights, like this, aren't fun."
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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