Chattanooga Mocs snaps road jinx

Chattanooga Mocs snaps road jinx

January 7th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

John Shulman, left, gathers his team for final instructions before practice in McKenzie Arena.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

It's been a while.

The exact date is Feb. 26, 2011.

That was the last time the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga won a Southern Conference game on the road. The Mocs beat Samford, in overtime, at the Hanna Center on that day.

The Mocs won their first SoCon road game of the season in that same spot on Saturday, holding off the Bulldogs 74-70 with a defensive stand in the last seven seconds.

"I don't think the road bothers us," UTC coach John Shulman said Sunday. "We've played five road games and we've played well in every one of them."

The Mocs (6-9, 1-1 SoCon) won on Saturday with a surging start, surviving Samford's comeback, then corralling Raijon Kelly's missed 3-pointer and sinking free throws in the end.

They have done things last year's senior-laden squad failed to do. First, this bunch of young players won a game on the road in its first attempt on Dec. 1 at Kennesaw State. Last year's team did not win a single game on the road, let alone a SoCon contest.

Last year's team had chances to win on the road last year, including their second attempt in which UTC led by four with 11 seconds to play at the College of Charleston. UTC lost in overtime by two. Last year's Mocs also lost by one at Elon.

This year, UTC led at halftime at Kansas, fought LSU until the end, and hung with Georgia Tech -- all on the road.

"We proved last year that we couldn't win tight games," Shulman said. "We have more toughness to win a tight one.

"We had to make a stop, get a rebound and make free throws [Saturday] and we did."

Freshman guard Gee McGhee and junior forward Zaccheus Mason each scored 17 points, and freshman point guard Farad Cobb added 16 points on Saturday.

"That's the offense coming of age," Shulman said. "We're more comfortable with what we're doing and more confident doing it."

UTC will continue its road adventures later this week in Charleston when it plays at The Citadel (3-9, 0-2) on Thursday at 7 and at College of Charleston (10-4, 2-0) Saturday at 4.

Senior point guard Dontay Hampton, who can also play shooting guard, is expected to make his season debut Thursday after tearing his right ACL in July.

"We deserve to get some breaks," Shulman said. "Getting Dontay back is a good break."