DAVIDSON, N.C. — Fresh thoughts and observations from UTC's 94-51 loss at Davidson on Thursday.
That screeching sound just north of Charlotte wasn't traffic on Interstate 77 around Lake Norman.
It was the sound of the Mocs' momentum after Davidson delivered a historic 94-51 beating on them in Belk Arena.
It could have been something, but it may have been nothing. But I noted in warmups that UTC didn't have the same look as during other warmup sessions. They didn't seem crisp or as focused. I may have been seeing miscommunication and dropped passes before the game began. Ronrico White said the Mocs prepared the same as any other game. I didn't think anything of it at the time.
But it could have been foreshadowing, because I certainly saw all that during the game.
UTC hadn't been trucked like that since losing 86-57 at Georgia. The Mocs' other whipping this season came at UCLA by 41. Those are explainable. A -- It's at UCLA. B -- The Georgia game came after a nine-day trip out West.
There is no one simple explanation for Davidson unloading on the Mocs and winning by 43.
The Wildcats destroyed UTC's will early and kept its foot on UTC's throat until the bird was dead with about 15 minutes to play. They won every statistical category except free throws made and attempted, which didn't matter while hitting 42 of 71 field-goal attempts.
I could be corrected on this, but I believe this is the worst SoCon loss of the Lebo, Shulman or Wade eras. The other contender I found was a 97-58 win by Wofford on Feb. 26, 2011. I'll get my fact-checking staff on that in the morning. (Oh. ... I don't have a staff like Rick Reilly? Shucks).
Mason vs. Brooks
In the matchup of reigning SoCon player of the year against the front-runner for the award this season, Davidson's De'Mon Brooks won with a TKO over UTC's Zaccheus Mason.
With the game out of hand, they didn't get a chance to finish and Brooks clearly led on all cards.
UTC has seven league games to play and Davidson has eight, but this game could be a tiebreaker for the voters if it comes down to the two of them for player of the year. More than a few Davidson folks told me that they'd like to see a rematch -- of both the game and this matchup -- in Asheville, N.C., during the SoCon tournament because Mason and the Mocs played so far below the level that has them in the SoCon lead.
Mason and Brooks started the game guarding each other at both ends of the floor with guards sometimes switching on guards. But they played head-to-head early on. Other Mocs -- including Lance Stokes, Martynas Bareika and Casey Jones -- guarded Brooks at times. They couldn't stop him.
Back to the beginning: Brooks scored Davidson's first six points.
Mason turned it over. Mason missed a 3-pointer. Mason got a block. Mason charged. Mason got two more blocks, turned it over again and hurried a 3-pointer before 10 minutes expired.
After that, Brooks scored inside. He scored again. Then he hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key as part of Davidson's secondary break, and the Wildcats led 27-15.
Mason scored his first bucket with 4:42 to go in the first half. Brooks already had 13 points.
Final score: Brooks -- 27 points, 12 rebounds, two turnovers, two blocks and a steal while shooting 12-for-18. Mason --seven points, seven rebounds, no assists, five turnovers, four blocks and one steal with 2-of-9 shooting.
The 51 points are a season low for the Mocs. So are 16 field goals, 49 attempts and 3-pointers made (zero), which ends a streak of at least one in 473 straight games since January of 1998. UTC also had a season-low three assists.
The Mocs were slated to drive home overnight and will face Furman (7-13, 1-6) on Saturday in McKenzie Arena. UTC beat the Paladins 72-63 in Greenville to open the SoCon season. Furman's game with Samford on Thursday was postponed.
Unless Wade and Wildcats coach Bob McKillop strike up a deal to continue playing the series that started in 1978 -- the year of my birth -- this likely will be my last trip to Davidson, N.C.
The Curry years certainly gave me something to write about beyond the 15 or so games of Steph's that I covered between the UTC series and the SoCon tournament.
McKillop and I had our rounds of ups and downs. In general, if you ask him a good question, he'll provide a good answer. Ask a dumb question, well, you get a bland answer.
I'm not done asking him questions.
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 ...