published Monday, February 11th, 2013

Weary Mocs face Samford tonight

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    UTC senior Drazen Zlovaric and the Mocs will be back in action tonight when they host Samford in a doubleheader with the UTC women.
    Photo by Jay Bailey /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Zaccheus Mason could not sleep in on Sunday with family members visiting.

But he made sure to catch a nap before practice and planned on taking an ice bath after practice.

He's a tired basketball player.

"I had to get some extra rest," Mason said. "I need to get my legs back. I didn't feel too explosive towards the end. So I need to get it back."

His legs are going get to more tired tonight when the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (9-15, 4-7 SoCon) faces Samford (8-16, 6-5) tonight at 7:30 in McKenzie Arena marking the Mocs' third game in five days. It is the second game of a "Black Out" doubleheader with the Lady Mocs playing UNC Greensboro at 5, and is also the third game of a stretch where the Mocs will play five games in 10 days.

Fatigue is already a factor.

"It's a factor for us right now, for Samford, and for everybody right now," coach John Shulman said. "Everybody is fatigued at this moment. But that's not excuse."

Mason scored 27 points in UTC's 71-68 loss to the College of Charleston on Saturday. But none of those points came in the final 12 minutes as he tried to catch his breath when he could.

Despite the loss on Saturday, sophomore guard Ronrico White said it's the best 40 minutes the Mocs have played all season.

Senior Drazen Zlovaric said it's one of the best games they've played this season and when combined with an 89-76 win over The Citadel on Thursday, the Mocs are playing their best basketball of the season.

"I thought we played the Citadel game from start to finish very well," White said. "We've had some good 32 minutes, but as far as complete games, these last two we played really well.

"I know we lost [Saturday], but we have a quick turnaround to play [tonight] and have to put it behind us."

Shulman noted the drastic improvement shown on the floor since facing the Cougars on Jan. 12 in a 27-point blowout in which the Mocs never challenged.

"We are so close to being 6-5 or 7-4 in the league, but we're not, so I can't let that judge how I see our team," Shulman said. "Not at any point last year did I feel like we've improved like we have this year. This year has had more adversity, and yet we're continuing to get better."

The challenge is to continue improving and get over the hump and claim a second win during this four-game home-stand.

"We've made some simple changes on defense and everybody is aware what's going on," Mason said. "It's small things that we've kind of fixed as a team."

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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