Zaccheus Mason back practicing for UTC

Zaccheus Mason back practicing for UTC

February 22nd, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC's Zaccheus goes up against Western Carolina's Ishmael Hollis at McKenzie Arena in this file photo.

UTC's Zaccheus goes up against Western Carolina's Ishmael...

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Zaccheus Mason has shed the crutches but sported a light brace on his right knee during University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball practice Tuesday.

The sophomore forward has been sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee. He sustained the injury on Jan. 19 but played two more games before taking time to rest.

"I've been doing a couple individual workouts and I'm excited to be back with the team," Mason said. "I feel like I've been gone way too long.

"I finally got in shape; I was playing how I knew I could play. Then I got knocked back down by this injury."

Mason averaged 13 points and 10.2 rebounds in the four games before coming out for good against Davidson.

"He helps us out a lot," point guard Keegan Bell said. "I think he'll be able to help Drazen [Zlovaric] out and there won't be as much pressure on him, and Z brings a lot of attention so he'll be able to kick it back out."

Austin seeks sixth

Furman guard Bobby Austin is listed as a senior. He'll likely be listed that way again next season.

Austin and Furman will apply for a sixth year of eligibility in the offseason based on the fact that Austin did not practice or play for two seasons after breaking his back following his freshman season.

"It's not a guarantee, but we know players can garner a sixth year," Furman coach Jeff Jackson said. "We feel that in his situation, he has an opportunity to do so.

"He's been on the dean's list and is a great ambassador."

Stitt set to return

Charleston guard Anthony Stitt could return to the lineup Thursday for the first time since breaking his hand on Jan. 12.

The freshman had been averaging 9.7 points and two assists per game before his injury.

"He's back at practice and he's still questionable," interim coach Mark Byington said. "We will get him back before the end of our season. He's one of the toughest guys on our team. Even though he's a freshman, he's one our most poised players."

11-loss streaks

UNC Greensboro suffered through an 11-game losing streak earlier this season but then reeled off seven straight victories.

The Citadel lost 11 straight before beating UTC on Saturday. A similar seven-game winning streak from the Bulldogs would give them the SoCon tournament championship.

"I saw a lot of confidence in the locker room [Saturday]," coach Chuck Driesell said. "I see a bunch of guys hungry to get that feeling again."

Giltner honored

Wofford senior Kevin Giltner was named SoCon player of the week. He averaged 23.5 points and six rebounds last week in two Terriers victories. UTC junior Dontay Hampton was among those cited as other top performers.