Mocs still working on late go-to plays

Mocs still working on late go-to plays

February 15th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller said his college coach would have screamed "Nooooo!" if Miller had taken the same shot Trevis Simpson did late in Saturday's game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams would have chewed his ear off.

It was a bad shot -- a 25-footer falling away from the left wing with less than 90 seconds to go and Simpson's team trailing by four points.

But it went in.

Miller never doubted that his star would make a play for the Spartans in the waning seconds of the close Southern Conference contest. Then Derrell Armstrong topped Simpson's shot when he drove around Omar Wattad for the eventual game-winning floater with 16 seconds left.

"I'm fortunate that I have a guy in Trevis that can make shots from anywhere on the floor," Miller said. "He can make shots that are pretty difficult. And Derrell Armstrong -- it's getting the ball in the right guy's hands and letting them make plays."

The Spartans made the plays Saturday night. The Mocs did not, even though they had 16 seconds to win the game. Senior Ricky Taylor missed an open jump shot, and senior Keegan Bell had a 3-pointer tipped in the final seconds.

No matter what a coach draws up on a greaseboard -- or even if he doesn't call time out to design a play -- it's usually just about players making something happen that determines the winning team and the losing team.

"We've been average [at making plays] at best," UTC coach John Shulman said. "In end-of-game situations, you have to make plays. And those plays may include getting a stop, playing great one-on-one 'D' or getting a rebound out of your area.

"It's not all about making a bucket. Everybody looks at the offensive end, but it may come at the defensive end."

UTC guard Dontay Hampton made one of those "Oh my gosh" plays against Appalachian State on Jan. 7 when he dribbled the length of the court and sank a game-winning leaner. There's a rematch tonight as the Mocs (10-17, 4-10) play at App State (10-15, 6-9).

"I haven't thought much about that play because I want to win and lately we haven't been winning," Hampton said. "You have to be in the right place at the right time or have the IQ to know to pass or shoot."

UTC will be armed with a new section to its playbook for last-minute scenarios. Shulman has implemented a flex-offense setup that milks the shot clock and can operate with four guards on the floor.

He added more plays to it Tuesday in advance of the ASU game and the Southern Conference tournament, which begins in 16 days.

"It benefits us in a way that we have something to go to when things get frantic and we need a bucket," Bell said. "It will make everybody comfortable and get us all on the same page. But we will all know what Coach wants, and that will make it easier on everyone."