UTC Mocs loss streak reaches seven

UTC Mocs loss streak reaches seven

February 5th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The basketball Mocs made school history Saturday.

But it's not the kind of history a team wants to be associated with.

An 88-61 setback at Southern Conference South Division leader Davidson in Belk Arena gave the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga seven straight losses.

No Mocs team had lost seven straight games since UTC became an NCAA Division I school in the 1977-78 season.

"This isn't a whole lot of fun to go through," coach John Shulman said. "These kids aren't dumb. They feel, and the coaches feel, like we're letting down a whole city, the whole campus.

"We have to figure out a way to smile again."

The Mocs also are approaching another program record by falling to 9-16 on the season and 3-9 in the SoCon. No previous team lost 20 games in a season.

In addition, no UTC team in the Division I era has gone winless on the road for an entire season. The Mocs have just two more chances this season to avoid that dubious mark -- Feb. 15 at Appalachian State and Feb. 23 at Furman.

"We can't worry about the past or that we lost this many and that many," said point guard Keegan Bell, who recorded his 500th career assist in the first half. "When you start hearing about pressure, then it's harder, and you have more on your shoulders.

"We have to live in the moment and play in the moment."

Each of the previous six loses was close enough that the Mocs could have won, including the 64-63 loss to Davidson 10 days ago in McKenzie Arena. Then never threatened the Wildcats on Saturday.

"We were a step slow and looked mentally waxed," Shulman said. "I thought we continued to play hard. We didn't play bad in the second half.

"But when you're facing Davidson and they're hitting on all cylinders, they're hard to beat."

Drazen Zlovaric led UTC with 15 points while Omar Wattad and Ronrico White -- both of whom had to play out of position at times -- each scored nine points.

Chris Czerapowicz, who was sick Friday night, led Davidson (17-5, 11-1) with 21 points. Nik Cochran added 15 points and De'Mon Brooks had 13 points and seven rebounds.

"A loss is a loss," Zlovaric said. "This one, we battled too. Give credit to Davidson. They made a lot of shots and that was the difference."

Davidson shot 48.5 percent from the floor and went 17-of-40 from the 3-point line. UTC shot 40.4 percent but combined for only eight assists and the fewest points scored since beating Wofford 51-48 on Jan. 12 -- UTC's last victory.

Davidson went on an early 11-0 run to take a 20-6 lead. The Wildcats' lead ranged from 19 to 10 for the rest of the half. They led 47-30 after shooting 17-of-30 from the floor.

The Cats never gave the Mocs a chance in the second half. Their lead went from 18 to 27 points with the coaches emptying their benches with 1:42 to go.

"We have to get mentally healthy," Shulman said.

The 17 3s are a season high and two off the Davidson record. The Cats made them against UTC's base man-to-man -- and double-teaming the post -- and the zone they were forced to play with Jahmal Burroughs and Zaccheus Mason out for the third straight game with injuries.

"Give Chattanooga credit," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "They are as quick to double-team the post as we've ever faced. They are outstanding at it.

"Our guys had the willingness to throw it out and to make the extra pass, and that, to me, was a big factor."