published Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Mocs overpower Montreat, 108-51

  • photo
    Gee McGhee (12) of UTC shoots over Montreat's Joshua Foster (24) Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
    Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The cupcake tasted delicious.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga dominated Montreat College from NAIA Division II, 108-51, on Saturday in McKenzie Arena.

Tuesday the Mocs will face a bigger and more talented team in Kennesaw State.

"I thought we did some good things -- forcing 20 turnovers is good," UTC first-year coach Will Wade said. "I think we took steps back in other areas, which was disappointing."

Sophomore guard Gee McGhee led five UTC double-digit scorers with 15 points.

Senior Zaccheus Mason recorded his first double-double of the year before halftime and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. One of the rebounds and none of the points came after the break.

Sophomore walk-on Alex Bran set a career high with 13 points, sophomore Casey Jones scored 12 and junior Martynas Bareika added 11.

"Z was great," Wade said. "He played really well in the first half, and he was a monster on the offensive glass and he was attacking the rim. He fed us and got our team going."

Mason, the 6-foot-6, 230 pound former Ole Miss footbal tight end, dominated a team with no player taller than him and none as large.

Mason brought most of the 2,989 in attendance to their feet with a quick tip-dunk over two Cavaliers after McGhee missed a driving layup.

"I wanted to play hard," Mason said. "I wanted to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the last game."

The Cavalierss (3-3) scored with the Mocs (2-1) for the first eight minutes. Myles Marshall scored in the paint to pull them within 16-14 with 12:27 to go in the first half.

Then UTC clamped down on defense for the rest of the half and long beyond. More than 10 minutes ticked off the clock between Montreat baskets when Melvin Irvin scored inside with 1:41 to go before the Sugar Mocs took the floor.

In that time, UTC extended its advantage from two points to 51-27. The Mocs went on a 12-1 run to take a 28-15 lead. They led by as many as 24 before Montreat went into its locker oom down 55-34.

UTC continued its dominance in the second half and turned it into a personal highlight film.

Jones dribbled along the baseline in front of the pep band and skied for a two-hand jam. Two trips later, Bran -- who dunked in the opening win over NCAA Division III team Covenant -- drove and flipped a left-handed teardrop through the net.

Then freshman center T.J. Williams rose to swat a Marshall shot down. Williams -- as he's been instructed -- ran the length of the floor, where Jones rewarded him with a perfect pass that Williams flushed with his right hand.

"That was a tremendous play from T.J.," Wade said. "That was a multiple-effort play. We need that from T.J. That's what we needed as a team."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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