UTC Mocs rally but fall 64-63 to Davidson

UTC Mocs rally but fall 64-63 to Davidson

January 27th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC freshman Jared Bryant, left, looks past Davidson's Frank Ben-Eze at McKenzie Arena on Thursday.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Keegan Bell pulled the home team dead even with the dominant basketball squad in the Southern Conference with 4.5 seconds left. McKenzie Arena sounded as loud as ever this season.

Problem for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was that Davidson had 4.5 seconds to win the game, and Nik Cochran did it.

The junior guard drove almost the length of the court, where UTC senior Omar Wattad bumped him with 1.2 seconds left.

Cochran made the first free throw and missed the second for a 64-63 win over the Mocs.

"We had four seconds, and Coach told me I had four dribbles, so I could kind of go the length of the court," Cochran said later. "I saw Wattad coming at me, so I just tried to draw some contact."

A fourth straight loss sank UTC to 3-6 in the conference. South Division leader Davidson continued rising to 9-0.

The two teams will meet again next Saturday in the Wildcats' Belk Arena. Before then, UTC will play Georgia Southern on Saturday and then at Western Carolina next Thursday.

"I do think it's pretty easy to keep fighting," said Bell, who buried two long 3s in the final minute, with his 25-footer tying the game at 63. "We're as hungry as ever to practice tomorrow and get ready to roll. There were a lot of positives tonight."

Everything but the ending.

The Mocs (9-13, 3-6) held Davidson (15-4, 9-0) to its second-lowest point total of the season, behind a 61-point night at Charlotte. They did so by limiting the inside chances of SoCon player of the year candidate Jake Cohen and forcing Davidson to shoot 11-of-36 (30.6 percent) from the 3-point line.

J.P. Kuhlman led Davidson with 16 points.

"I thought we did a great job defensively, but we didn't win the game," UTC coach John Shulman said. "We just ain't getting any breaks."

Freshman Jared Bryant came off the bench to score 10 points and grab eight rebounds for the Mocs. Dontay Hampton scored 10 points and made three steals.

The Mocs came back from a 13-point deficit with 12 minutes to play to tie the game.

Ricky Taylor led the charge and finished with a team-high 14 points.

"Chattanooga did not give up," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "You wouldn't expect that from a John Shulman team, a class that has as many seniors as they do, and we feel very fortunate to get out of here with the victory."

The misfortunes keep mounting for the Mocs. They could have won at Samford, at UNC Greensboro and then at Elon last Saturday and again Thursday.

Zaccheus Mason suffered a setback to his injured right knee and played only three minutes in the second half. And starting power forward Jahmal Burroughs played five minutes through a gimpy right hamstring before Shulman had to go with a four-guard lineup with Wattad playing the 4.

"We were stuck," Shulman said. "We haven't worked on that a whole lot. ... [But] we should have won the basketball game."

The Mocs had to play 4.5 seconds of solid defense without fouling.

"We guard and we get nailed on a screen, but we're ready for that and Omar is put in a tough spot," Shulman said. "The last thing I said was, 'Defend, guard and don't worry about fouling. We have to guard.'

"The rest is history."