published Monday, January 16th, 2012

UTC Mocs regroup after loss

Basketball coach John Shulman is borrowing a page from the playbook of football coach Russ Huesman.

Instead of taking Sunday off, Shulman had the Mocs practicing after an 81-70 loss at Samford -- much like the football team goes over its Saturday games the very next day.

Shulman's players will take today as an opportunity to rest before beginning preparations for a trip to UNC Greensboro on Thursday.

"Our kids will be surprised I don't want to kill everybody," said Shulman, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach. "The moral of the story is that on the road every little play matters and you have to make every little play."

Shulman said he'll be following this routine of a Sunday practice with Monday off for the rest of the regular season.

"It puts the game behind us," Shulman said, before heading off the practice which will be split into three sessions on Sundays. Usually the starters and key reserves will practice, they'll all have a team meeting, and then the rest of the team will have a different set of drills. Shulman said he'd mix the groups based on needs at the times.

The Mocs' loss at Samford is one that needs to be put in the past in a hurry. It's a game they could have won despite trailing by 14 points in the first half and struggling against Samford's match-up zone.

The Mocs (9-10, 3-3 SoCon) were down by one point with five minutes to play and down two points with three minutes to go.

"I felt like we did have some trouble with the matchup," forward Zaccheus Mason said. "It took away some of our plays. But we scored enough points. We lacked a little bit on defense."

The loss kept the Mocs winless on the road this season. Losing at Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee are understandable. UTC is 0-5 on the road against comparable competition including its three SoCon losses -- at Georgia Southern, College of Charleston and Samford, which earned its first SoCon win Saturday. The other two losses came at Butler and at Mercer.

"There is such a fine line to winning road games, and we haven't found it," Shulman said. "I don't think we're going to focus on how our momentum slowed. We're going to focus on how can we win on the road.

"We have to do a better job of making every little play."

The Mocs' next two games are a traditional road swing -- at UNCG which upset College of Charleston last week and beat The Citadel on Saturday -- followed two days later by a game at Elon which leads the North Division with a record of 3-2.

"We have to keep making little plays and make more," said Dontay Hampton who scored nine points in a two-minute span Saturday. "We have to gut it out."

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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