SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Fresh thoughts and observations from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 78-58 men's basketball loss at Wofford:
The opening tip
Get Southern Conference association commissioner Geoff Cabe on the horn.
He's the gentleman who generates the SoCon basketball schedule.
It's one thing for a writer to cover five games in 10 days -- no big deal and rather entertaining.
It's something else for a college basketball team or two to compete five times in 10 days like both Wofford and UTC did over the last week and a half.
The Mocs played four at home, then one on the road. The Terriers played two at home, two on the road, then one at home.
The home team Saturday seemed to play with fresher legs and had more concentration than the Mocs. The Terriers were a step quicker on offense and more alert on defense than UTC.
They also hit almost every shot they looked at, resulting in an 18-point lead at halftime and the 20 point victory.
Cabe's job of building the SoCon schedule will be a little easier next year when the SoCon switches to a 16-game conference season.
Mocs' chalk talk
UTC coach John Shulman and Wofford coach Mike Young spent years together as assistant coaches at Wofford under former coach and current athletic director Richard Johnson.
So nothing either coach ran surprised the other.
The Terriers were well-prepared for the Mocs' 1-2-2 trapping in the three-quarter court and various traps in the first half.
Karl Cochran, who scored 30 points, said the Wofford coaching staff buried the players with a lot of video on the Mocs and had them ready for everything.
Obviously. Wofford had only three first-half turnovers and six after they led by 16 with 10 minutes to play.
With point guard Indiana Faithfull (side note: As an IU guy, I love this Australian kid's name) making the right decisions and routinely getting the ball to the middle of the floor, the Terriers were able to avoid getting stuck in a "Coffin Corner."
UTC sports information director Jim Horten rifled through the Wofford notes and came up with this nugget that you'll probably see in Monday's newspaper.
The Terriers had not shot better than 50 percent or made at least eight 3s in a game since Dec. 18 at Jacksonville. They shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 11-of-22 from the arc.
Stats Stat! II
Wofford scored 33 points in shooting 13-for-48 (27 percent) at Samford on Thursday.
Watch your mouth
Shulman earned his second technical foul in three games during the second half Saturday. He earned one Monday against Samford.
This time, he said some magic words and got the quick whistle after Lance Stokes had his shot blocked at waist level on the way up for a fastbreak layup with 8:47 to go and UTC down by 14.
"I didn't believe what he called," Shulman said.
He joked: "I didn't know if I was going to stick around and see the end of it."
He added: "We're all cranky and we're all tired, and we need to get back home and take a couple days off."
Gee McGhee led the first-year Mocs with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Eric Robertson added seven points.
Combined, the five freshmen including Alex Bran scored 24 points on 7-of-28 shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists and seven turnovers.
The open floor
The Mocs were rolling in the right direction during their homestand, after switching to their pressure defense that sparked their offense, but they had only four points off turnovers Saturday. Wofford outscored them 17-2 in fastbreak points.
I understand the need to play three games in five days once a season. But five in 10 is silly.
How should the 16-game schedule -- due to the departure of College of Charleston -- be different for SoCon teams next season?
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 ...