published Monday, November 19th, 2012

Chattanooga Mocs stumble in loss to Southeast Missouri

UTC forward Jared Bryant has his shot blocked by Southeast Missouri's Nino Johnson on the way to a 77-65 UTC loss during their Sunday afternoon game at McKenzie Arena.
UTC forward Jared Bryant has his shot blocked by Southeast Missouri's Nino Johnson on the way to a 77-65 UTC loss during their Sunday afternoon game at McKenzie Arena.
Photo by Alyson Wright /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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The Mocs fell 77-65 to Southeast Missouri.

Their biggest fall may have come from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore guard Ronrico White who injured his right ankle with 4:17 to play.

White, who shifted to starting point guard due to Dontay Hampton's knee injury in July, is questionable to play tonight when the Mocs face Troy at 7 in McKenzie Arena.

"I think he turned his ankle," said coach John Shulman, who has freshman Farad Cobb and walk-on Alex Bran as reserve point guards. "Nobody told me he is out. If he is, we'll figure it out."

The Mocs, with eight underclassmen, are continuing to figure out how to play on the college level. It's a prime reason Shulman chose to play in the CBE Classic -- to get three games in three days at home.

They experienced playing bigger, stronger and more experienced guards. Senior guard Corey Wilford led all players with 21 points -- all in the second half. Forward Tyler Stone and Marland Smith each scored 16 points for the Redhawks (3-1).

"I made a commitment that I'm not going to freak out win or lose," Shulman said. "Ain't no doubt our guards got whipped. That's why we're playing the tournament.

"Every second we're out there, we're getting better because they're getting experience we don't have."

The Mocs were led by 14 points from post players Drazen Zlovaric and Zaccheus Mason while freshman Gee McGee added 10 points.

"There's going to be good games, bad games and games like this," said Mason, who helped the Mocs grab 18 offensive rebounds and limit SEMO to three.

UTC (1-2) attacked the rim but SEMO post players Stone and Nino Johnson were ready to defend and helped the Redhawks block eight shots.

The Mocs shot 29.6 percent in the first half, 35.1 percent in the second half, and 32.8 percent for the game. They missed 11 of their 29 free throws. SEMO hit 55 percent of its shots and eight of 20 3-pointers.

"Our effort was good but we couldn't make a shot," Shulman said. "They did a few things better than we did."

For starters, they were ready at the tip.

The Redhawks took a 7-0 lead to start the game and maintained at least a three-point lead through the first half and led 29-23 at the break.

"We came out flat, no energy and I don't know where my legs were in the first half," Zlovaric said. "They got up seven and for most of the game that was the difference."

SEMO grew its lead to 44-30 with a 7-0 spurt and kept the Mocs at bay by at least nine points. The Redhawks led by as many as 17 with 3:48 to go, shortly after White headed to a training table.

The CBE Classic will continue today with SEMO playing Louisiana Tech at 4:30 and UTC playing Troy at 7 in McKenzie Arena.

"I know Troy beat Mississippi State," said Shulman, before beginning to scout the Trojans. "The nice thing is that they provide a different challenge. They play smaller and shoot a bunch of 3s."

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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