Chattanooga Mocs focus on exams, shooting better

Chattanooga Mocs focus on exams, shooting better

December 4th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Casey Jones and his UTC teammates are giving special emphasis during exam-week practices on improving their shooting.

Photo by Alyson Wright/Times Free Press.

Cobb day-to-day

UTC freshman reserve point guard Farad Cobb did not practice Monday because his right eye was bandaged. Cobb took an inadvertent poke to the eye in the closing minutes of the Mocs' game against Davidson on Saturday. Coach John Shulman said Cobb could barely open the eye Monday morning. Shulman said Cobb is day-to-day. "They're trying to make sure there's not a scratch, so he is out for the moment," the coach said.

It's an important week for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team.

The Mocs will go a full week between last Saturday's 81-55 loss to Davidson and their next game against Eastern Kentucky. It's a full week to improve, prepare and, more importantly, take their final exams.

"Just having it in the back of my mind that my grades depend on what I do this week is a little tough," freshman forward Casey Jones said. "It's a little tough concentrating on finals and basketball. But we can do it."

The biggest improvement goal for the week, on the court, is offensively -- not that coach John Shulman will be ignoring his usual emphasis on defending and rebounding.

"We have lots to work on and we have to get better in all facets," Shulman said. "It's one thing for a veteran team to deal with not being able to score. But sometime or another we have to get better offensively so it's not depression on the other end."

The Mocs (2-5) have not scored more than 65 points against Division I competition this season.

In the Southern Conference opener against league favorite Davidson, UTC guards sank 16 of 22 free throws, only 3 of 11 3-point attempts and just 2 of 23 shots from 10 feet or closer to the basket.

"Those are my shots," said Jones, who went 1-of-5 from the floor Saturday. "Those shots didn't fall Saturday night. If I get that close, I should be making them. Inside 10 feet is automatic for me. But I need to finish better through contact."

Offensive execution has been acceptable except for the final part where the ball goes through the orange ring 10 feet above the floor.

"We get the ball where we want, get fouled and miss two free throws," Shulman said. "We battle and get the ball where we want it and we miss a 2-footer."

UTC is shooting 62.8 percent from the free-throw line, the worst rate in the SoCon. Its best game from the stripe against a Division I team was at Kennesaw State, when the Mocs went 21-of-31.

"We're getting it where we want, but we don't have the confidence to finish a play," Shulman said. "We're getting good shots; they're not going in. We get fouled; those aren't gong in. After a while, it plays on your head a little bit."

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