Their senior star could only watch.
He couldn't help score, rebound or defend.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior forward Zaccheus Mason -- who leads the Mocs in scoring and rebounding -- did not play due to a toe injury in the Mocs' 87-71 loss at Northern Kentucky on Sunday.
He would have made a difference. But it might not have been enough to lift UTC (4-7) to a win over the Norse (2-7) who were led by 16 points from guard Jordan Jackson.
"There were tough matchups for us," UTC coach Will Wade said on the post-game radio show. "We couldn't stop them down there. I thought Jackson was able to control the game. He was all over the court."
UTC junior forward Martynas Bareika started in place of Mason and crushed his previous career-high of 20 points with a 29-point effort. Bareika shot 7-of-14 from the floor including three 3-pointers.
"In the first half, shots were going in," Bareika said on the radio. "Then in the second half, they closed-out so I had to do something different. I tried to step up and help the team."
UTC Sophomore forward Casey Jones added 10 points. Five NKU players scored at least 10 points including Jackson.
"They drove us at will to the rim," Wade said. "They were quicker than us. It's pretty much the same game-plan Morehead State had against us.
"Seventy-one points should be enough to win a lot of games, but we didn't get enough stops."
UTC bucked its trend of slow starts this season and busted out to a 14-4 lead with Mason cheering from the bench. But NKU rallied as the Mocs went without points on 10 of their next 13 possessions resulting in the Norse taking a 29-22 lead.
NKU led by as many as eight points in the first half. A quick rally capped by a 26-foot 3-pointer from Bareika gave UTC a 36-35 lead.
The Norse took a 41-38 lead into halftime after the Norse shot 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) from the floor and out-rebounded UTC 17-12.
NKU, which eventually led 78-55, shot 32-of-48 from the floor which is the sixth time this season a UTC opponent has made more than 50 percent of its field-goal attempts.
"We couldn't ever get the rebound or stop to stop their momentum and get that in our corner," Wade said. "We attacked offensively, but couldn't get enough stops."
The teams matched points for the first two minutes of the second half. Then NKU reeled off 19 straight points to take a 67-45 lead after scoring on eight of nine possessions while holding UTC scoreless.
The Mocs, who have only one win against a Division I team this season, had no response on the road.
"Without Z, we had no post presence whatsoever on the offensive end," sophomore guard Casey Jones said over the radio. "On [defense] without him guarding their post players, it was hard to get stops down there."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
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 ...