published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Mocs now 0-11 on road and losing 82-76

CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Western Carolina made history when Ronnie Carr hit the NCAA's first official 3-point basket in 1980.

The Catamounts set school history from beyond the arc again Thursday night in an 82-76 Southern Conference win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

WCU attempted 41 3-pointers against UTC, which shattered its previous record of 34 set against the Mocs in 2007. The Cats hit 15 of those attempts Thursday, making 12 in the first half to build an insurmountable lead.

"They were doubling the post and we kept kicking it out," said Brandon Boggs, who led the Cats with 21 points and hit five 3s. "You have to take them. We didn't plan it."

Boggs and his teammates did a victory lap around the court in the Ramsey Activity Center while the Mocs trudged off the court with coach John Shulman staring down as he walked to the locker room.

It's a feeling that's all too familiar for the Mocs.

UTC (9-15, 3-8) remains winless in 11 road games this season. It hasn't gone this deep into the season without a road win since the 1989-90 season, when the Mocs' first road victory came on Feb. 17 at Western Carolina.

UTC has three more road games this season -- Saturday at Davidson and one-game trips to Appalachian State and Furman.

The Mocs dropped their sixth consecutive game. It's the first six-game losing streak under Shulman.

"How can I worry about that?" Shulman said. "I'm not going to dwell on losing six in a row. I'm going to dwell on getting our team better."

Omar Wattad led UTC with 18 points but also had six of the team's 18 turnovers. Keegan Bell and Dontay Hampton each added 13 points and Lance Stokes set a career high with 11.

Reserves Stokes, Drew Baker and Jared Bryant combined for 20 points and 15 rebounds while playing 58 minutes in place of injured post players Jahmal Burroughs and Zaccheus Mason.

"That's really three freshmen out there playing their guts out," said Shulman, who had a Band-Aid lineup of five guards on the floor at one point. "We're just undermanned at this moment. We'll get all of our troops back.

"If we can hold it together -- and I fully expect them to do that -- by the time March rolls around, we will have enough depth to play four games if needed in March."

Keaton Cole scored 18 points while Harouna Mutombo and Trey Sumler each scored 14 for the Cats (10-14, 4-7), who snapped a six-game losing streak in the SoCon.

Cole led the offensive charge in the first half with 15 points. The Cats shot 12-of-26 from the arc in the first half and led 45-32 lead at the break. They scored more points in the first half than any other UTC opponent this season.

"In the first half, they were more hungry than us," said Bell, who had five assists. "We fought back. When you get a deficit like that, it's hard to bounce back, especially on the road."

WCU owned an 18-point lead after a jump shot by Boggs with 15:54 to play. The Cats led 75-59 with 5:38 to left before the Mocs went on an 11-0 run to pull within 75-70 with 2:48 to go. UTC held WCU without a field goal over the final 5:30, but the Cats made seven of 10 free throws in the final three minutes.

"I think our team got too much last season -- getting a ring," Shulman said. "I don't know if I used all the karma and stuff last year.

"Until I see us laying an egg, you're going to see a coach support his team."

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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