published Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Greg Pryor lets UTC take charge in SoCon

  • photo
    UTC freshman point guard Greg Pryor hasn't played as much since Ronrico White returned from a hip injury, but he's still making good contributions — including taking a charge in the closing seconds to seal the Mocs' one-point win over Wofford last Saturday.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The play seemed like it happened in slow motion to junior guard Ronrico White and freshman point guard Greg Pryor.

White retreated to guard a Wofford player on the right wing as the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga leading the Terriers by one.

Pryor anchored himself in the paint but outside the semicircle under the rim.

Wofford guard Karl Cochran dribbled right to him and flipped a finger-roll toward the rim. Then he crashed into Pryor, who tumbled to the hardwood. A whistle blew.

A referee called a charge on Cochran with 1.1 seconds to play. UTC won 70-69.

The Mocs' performance in the 39 minutes and 58 seconds leading up to that play put them in position to win their sixth straight game and begin the Southern Conference season with four wins and zero losses.

In that split-second that seemed to take forever, Pryor, whose playing time has dwindled with the return of White from a hip injury, made the play of the season thus far.

"I was looking at Greg before he took the charge," White said Monday after a weightlifting and stretching session. "I was thinking in my mind, 'That's a charge.' I couldn't run over to him fast enough.

"It's one of the biggest plays since I've been here."

And that time is longer than for any UTC player or coach other than junior Martynas Bareika, who redshirted the 2010-11 season.

"I thought he was there in time to take the charge," UTC coach Will Wade said Monday while driving to watch signee Jacolby Mobley play in a game. "That was obviously a huge play in the game. Really, just a veteran play from a young guy. It's a huge play and won us the game."

Wade saw the play from his perspective on UTC's bench. White saw it while on the floor. Pryor saw it in his face at the moment of impact.

"I had decisions to make," he said before heading to the Chattem Practice Facility to practice his jump shot. "I had the choice to steal the ball, attempt to block it or step over and take a charge. He was coming so fast, I just stepped over and took a charge.

"I knew the call was going to be a charge because I was standing there before [Cochran] started to jump. I wasn't leaning or flopping. I took the charge."

The ensuing inbound play covering the length of the court elapsed the remaining time and lifted UTC to the top of the SoCon standings, a half game ahead of Davidson (7-10, 3-0) and Western Carolina (10-8, 3-0).

The Mocs, who had Sunday and Monday off from official practice, will continue their SoCon quest Thursday at Appalachian State (4-12, 0-3), followed by a rematch at Wofford (7-9, 2-2) on Saturday.

"We don't want to peak right now," White said. "We have to continue to improve each and every day. We have two big road games coming up this week. We need to be ready to play."

Pyror, who has made only five shots in six games since the Christmas break, kept UTC undefeated in the SoCon.

"That's the biggest play of my life, as of now," Pryor said. "I made big plays in high school, but that play means the most to me because I'm on a bigger stage and I'm so young."

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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