published Sunday, November 18th, 2012

UTC Mocs host three-day basketball event

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had Twitter users and national basketball writers across the country following its game at Kansas on Thursday.

UTC's Mocs sparked interest when they led 36-28 at halftime over the Jayhawks in fabled Allen Fieldhouse.

Then, as KU coach Bill Self said, the Jayhawks played their best half of the young season and won 69-55.

UTC had its best half 20 minutes earlier.

"We took two steps forward at getting better," Mocs senior center Drazen Zlovaric said. "We can't take a step back."

The next step in either direction -- or sideways -- will be taken today at 3 when the Mocs face Southeastern Missouri in a continuation of the CBE Classic that included both teams playing at Kansas.

"I want our guys feeling good, and they should feel like they're making leaps and bounds," UTC coach John Shulman said. "But don't pat yourself on the back. We lost. It's over. We played good; let's build on it."

UTC will host SEMO today, Troy on Monday and Louisiana Tech on Tuesday. This afternoon's Mocs game will be followed by Troy vs. Louisiana Tech. On Monday and Tuesday, the neutral-site games will be played before UTC takes the floor.

"Despite the loss, we got some good team spirit and momentum," Zlovaric said. "Today's practice was short, but we did the right things."

Each school is getting three games in three days -- much like conference tournaments.

"I feel like this will help us later on," sophomore guard Ronrico White said. "We have a very deep team and everybody has the ability to score. What makes this team special is our unselfishness."

Nine Mocs got at least 12 minutes of action at Kansas, while Sam Watson and Jared Bryant combined for 16 minutes at center. The depth will be needed these next three days.

"Somebody is going to have to step up every single night," Shulman said. "We have a lot of guys. Going in [to the season], we didn't know who we were going to play."

Even though UTC will be playing three games in three days, it's a little different than the Southern Conference tournament.

"We don't know these teams and they don't know us," Shulman said. "In the SoCon tournament you get App or Western and we've already played them twice so we know their tendencies. Also here, we're going to class Monday and Tuesday."

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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