Mocs point guard Keegan Bell had no classes on Monday and no University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball practice on the schedule.
So he drove home to Hazel Green, Ala. -- not to have his mom wash his dirty laundry. But to work on his shooting with his father, former Marshall assistant coach Dan Bell.
Bell is shooting 26 percent from the 3-point line this season. That number drops to 20 percent over the last four games in which he is 7 of 35 from the arc.
"I'm very confident in my ability to shoot," Bell said. "I'll get it going, and I'm going to keep working, and they'll start falling.
"You have to get back to basics."
Bell shot 3-for-13 from the field -- with all of his shots coming from beyond the arc -- in UTC's 81-70 loss at Samford on Saturday.
"I'm not worried about numbers because I see him in here an hour before every practice," coach John Shulman said. "I know what he puts into it. I have full confidence in Keegan shooting that basketball.
"Ain't no sense in focusing on it as long as the guys are getting good shots and we got great looks at Samford."
Butts is back at App
Appalachian State coach Jason Capel welcomed senior center Isaac Butts back to the team after a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Butts played 21 minutes, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Mountaineers' 83-79 loss to Davidson on Saturday.
"It was great to have Ike back," Capel said. "It was one of his better performances of his career, one of the better efforts of his career.
"You have to give great effort every time you set foot on the court. I think he understands that."
At 6-foot-9, 290 pounds, Butts is the biggest player in the SoCon. The senior has averaged 7.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season.
"It's my job as a coach to teach these young guys lessons that are going to help them beyond the game," Capel said. "It's our job to prepare these kids for the real world. He learned a valuable lesson."
Samford reverts defense
Samford coach Jimmy Tillette dumped the 2-3 matchup zone that the Bulldogs played for years in favor of a basic man-to-man defense for their first 14 games of the year.
But the Bulldogs went 3-11 in that stretch. So Tillette reverted back to what he knows best -- the 2-3 matchup. The Bulldogs then went out and lost 58-53 at Georgia Southern and then beat the Mocs 81-70 with their old defense.
"Citadel was our low-point defensively and we were terrible," Tillette said. "We couldn't guard them. We were a step slow."
The matchup is back.
It's still early
Elon leads the North Division at 3-2. UTC, Western Carolina and App State are 1/2 game back at 3-3. With two wins over the weekend UNC Greensboro is 2-4 in a clustered division.
In the South, Davidson, which is 6-0 in the SoCon has raced ahead to a two-game lead over Charleston and Georgia Southern.
Most teams still have a dozen SoCon games to play.
"The way the conference looks, in both divisions, there's a lot of parity," WCU coach Larry Hunter said. "Davidson is separating themselves a bit, but they've got some toughies coming too.
"There's still a lot of basketball to go in the conference. It's still early."
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 ...