DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Fresh thoughts and observations from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball game Saturday at Davidson:
The Opening Tip
The Mocs won the opening tip and Davidson's Nik Cochran fouled Keegan Bell just four seconds into the game. It went downhill from there for the Mocs, who lost 88-61.
The UTC players' emotional tank is now empty.
The Mocs tried to keep up with the Wildcats. They just couldn't do it. The six straight losses heading into the game, having Jahmal Burroughs in sweats and Zaccheus Mason on crutches. Add that to playing an angry Davidson team in Belk Arena, and the result was expected.
The Mocs tried and played the whole game. But it was as if they held a pair of kings and Davidson had four jacks and an ace.
So, the losing continues for a seventh straight game, which is the longest in UTC's Division I era.
Mocs chalk talk
Sometimes the Mocs "Fired" and sometimes they didn't. Coach John Shulman called for more 2-3 zone defense in this game than any other this season -- maybe his career. They tried some 1-3-1 in the half-court. They tried some 1-2-2 in half- and three-quarters-court.
They tried every defense they've practiced this season.
Nothing seemed to work. Davidson efficiently passed out of double teams, had only 12 turnovers, recorded 22 assists and shot 48.5 percent from the floor.
Drazen Zlovaric bounced back from a second-half benching Thursday with 15 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes Saturday. He was the only UTC player to score more than nine points.
Davidson had four double-figure scorers: Chris Czerapowicz (21), Cochran (15), De'Mon Brooks (13) and Jake Cohen (11).
UTC is beat up -- physically and mentally.
But the season does not stop. There is no All-Star break like in the NBA or pro baseball that everybody can point to and say, "Yeah, time off."
The next game is Thursday against Elon.
There are four full days for Shulman and the Mocs to prepare for the Phoenix the best way the coach sees fit.
Shulman said after the game that he'd take the bus ride home to think about that. He does know that the players need to smile -- somehow, some way and for some reason.
The open floor
The Mocs (9-16, 3-9 SoCon) have now played 25 games this season. A lot has happened to this team since opening the season at Indiana's Assembly Hall -- on and off the court.
What grade would you give the 2011-12 Mocs?