The Mocs had the day off Saturday.
For most of Friday's 83-73 win over Western Carolina, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team played with the intensity that sent it on a 10-game winning streak. Perhaps it redirected the Mocs upward with four games remaining until the Southern Conference tournament.
Freshman point guard Greg Pryor dove on the floor for a loose ball in front of the bench. Lance Stokes, reinserted in the starting lineup, elevated the home crowd with a transition dunk that put UTC ahead 30-14.
Zaccheus Mason put the punctuation point on a 23-point night with a follow dunk that gave UTC an eight-point lead as the clock ticked under five minutes.
And sophomore Gee McGhee highlighted the night with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
"Legs shot and my back done," McGhee said on Twitter about three hours after the Mocs responded from a subpar effort the previous Saturday at Samford in a 92-85 loss.
A week of difficult practices and a 24-hour delay of the game until Friday followed.
"I would say this was won in practice," Mason said. "Coach [Will] Wade changed up our format and we went harder than we had been. It showed tonight. We were crisp, and everybody was focused and locked in on the small things.
"These past few days of practice definitely helped us."
The Mocs (16-1, 10-2) must be careful to avoid the same mistakes that led to three losses in four games before Friday's victory against the Catamounts (14-12, 7-4).
"This was a big game for them, and they were going to be in a good mindset," WCU coach Larry Hunter said. "They were ready to go and played better for a bigger part of the game than we did."
Wade started a three-state recruiting trip Saturday, and UTC will next play Thursday at home against Georgia Southern.
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or 423-757-6484.
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 ...