published Monday, February 4th, 2013

Chattanooga Mocs get needed rest days

UTC’s Gee McGhee (12) brings the ball downcourt in Saturday’s 90-81 loss to Western Carolina.
UTC’s Gee McGhee (12) brings the ball downcourt in Saturday’s 90-81 loss to Western Carolina.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach John Shulman considered ordering wings, pizza and having the team over for a Super Bowl party.

But the Mocs lost 59-57 at Georgia Southern on Saturday after coming back from a 21-point deficit to take a lead in the final minute.

So Shulman and the coaching staff chose to give the team two days off including Sunday when the players could make their own plans for the unofficial American holiday.

"We're going to take two days and get fresh and get away and not have to deal with each other," Shulman said. "Not that we're in a mental panic. Especially with five games coming up in 10 days, we decided to let them do their own thing."

The string of games starts Thursday at home against The Citadel. The longest break between games UTC will have between Thursday and Feb. 16 is two days. But the first four games are in McKenzie Arena, beginning with the Bulldogs followed by College of Charleston, Samford and Furman, then a trip to Wofford.

"I'd love to have people come out and support us," said Shulman, whose Mocs are 8-14 and 3-6 in the Southern Conference. "I understand what our record is. I understand our guys are battling their guts out. They've taken an uppercut, a left-hook and a knee.

"They need something good to happen to them."

UTC trailed 48-27 with 16:13 to play on Saturday. GSU (10-14, 3-6) scored 48 points in the first 24 minutes. Then the Mocs held GSU to 11 points over the final 16:13.

"We need to get off our heels early," Shulman said. "We need to fight before we get down."

The Mocs, led by 19 points from freshman Gee McGhee, took a one-point lead on two McGee free throws with 40 seconds remaining. They had completed a comeback.

But they didn't finish the game.

GSU forward Eric Ferguson buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 11 seconds left and UTC's last shot at a tie missed the rim.

"Teams get comfortable when they have a big lead on us," McGhee said on the post-game radio show. "We made a great run. Coaches were great and our bench had enthusiasm."

Now, they're getting some rest.

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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