White shines in Mocs' exhibition win

White shines in Mocs' exhibition win

November 2nd, 2011 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Jared Bryant of the UTC Mocs shoots a foul shot during the second period against Tennessee Wesleyan at McKenzie Arena on Tuesday night.

Jared Bryant of the UTC Mocs shoots a...

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

Ronrico White held the basketball as the final seconds ticked off Tuesday night in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 82-64 exhibition win over Tennessee Wesleyan.

It may as well have been the game ball.

The freshman stood out from the other six Mocs playing in their first game for UTC.

White, a left-handed freshman from Bearden High School in Knoxville, sank five 3-pointers and led the Mocs with five assists while spending some time playing point guard for the bruised Dontay Hampton.

"I feel very comfortable with Rico out there, and that's the only way I can judge if you can play or not," coach John Shulman said. "He's learning two positions and he's going to be a really good player for us, and when he gets stronger, wow."

Senior point guard Keegan Bell led the Mocs with 21 points and senior guard Ricky Taylor added 17 points. The Mocs combined to shoot 15-of-24 from the 3-point in McKenzie Arena against TWC's 2-3 zone matchup defense.

Bell and Taylor have scorched the nets before. But they weren't freshmen like White playing in their first college game, albeit an exhibition.

"I couldn't sit still the whole day," said White, whose brother Tony White Jr. played at the College of Charleston and watched from the upper deck Tuesday. "I took a nap midway through the day, and that's where I got my energy. I was still a little nervous, but I did a good job of calming down and just playing basketball."

White sank each of his five treys from one of the two corners. He missed two from the corner and one from the wing.

"It was great watching him, and this is what we work out on every summer," his brother said. "I'm definitely proud of him. But I'll have to get used to seeing him in blue and gold. Tough, but I told him I'm a Moc fan for the next four years."

White certainly picked up a few more fans Tuesday night. Taylor already was in that group.

"I knew he was going to produce tonight," Taylor said. "He has a very high IQ of the game, and he's very capable of making the right shots."

White helped the Mocs shoot 7-for-11 from the arc in the first half and close with a 16-5 run for a 35-28 lead at the break.

The Mocs, who will open their season Nov. 15 at Indiana, led the entire second half by at least eight points and by as many as 24 with two minutes to play.

Guard Quincy Scates led the Bulldogs with 21 points and Matt Harper scored 16. Point guard E'Jay Ward from Brainerd had 10 assists.

The exhibition gave Shulman things to focus on during the next couple weeks of practice.

"We quit building a wall, we gave up layups, and layups will go in a majority of the time," he said. "We know what we have to work on -- defending and rebounding."

It's a familiar refrain, even after a night starring White.