UTC win still riles Mountaineers: Stokes expected to return to UTC rotation

UTC win still riles Mountaineers: Stokes expected to return to UTC rotation

January 17th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC's Lance Stokes, No. 1, tries to maneuver around Appalachian State's Jamaal Trice.

UTC's Lance Stokes, No. 1, tries to maneuver...

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

Cartwright to join Mocs

Former Sequatchie County player Daniel Cartwright likely will join the UTC team Monday as a practice player. Mocs coach John Shulman said he expects Cartwright only to practice this season and then become a walk-on roster member next season.

Cartwright, a 6-foot point guard, averaged 20.9 points and 7.4 assists last season for the Indians. He went to Fork Union Military Academy for the start of the fall semester but returned home before choosing to enroll at UTC.

"He was going to Fork Union to show his worth, but it wasn't for him," Shulman said. "He's been out there and we talked a few times. He's not playing this semester, but he's with us starting immediately."

- David Uchiyama

The Appalachian State basketball Mountaineers are still steaming mad more than a year after Dontay Hampton stole a victory from them for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In a game tied at 63, Hampton grabbed a rebound, raced downcourt and sank a floater with 0.8 second left. The Mocs won 65-63 with Hampton providing a highlight in a season of lowlights.

The Mountaineers (7-8, 3-1 SoCon) return to Chattanooga for the first time since Hampton's heroics for a game tonight at 7 against the Mocs (7-10, 2-2).

"We want to win on their home court because of what they stole from us last time," ASU senior wing Jamaal Trice said. "That kind of stuff happens. Hopefully we come out with the win this time."

The Mountaineers were in control of that Jan. 7, 2012, game in which UTC's Omar Wattad did not play, Keegan Bell shot 1-of-13 and Lance Stokes made his first start against a Division I team. UTC trailed by 11 with nine minutes to play and won.

"It's a game we let slip away, one we had well in hand," ASU coach Jason Capel said. "They were fighting back and made us pay for mistakes and mishaps. We allowed it to slip away with mental errors."

That was the fifth win in a stretch of six in seven games for the Mocs, with the loss coming at Tennessee. All seemed to be going well at the time. But after beating Wofford in the next game, UTC lost seven straight and 12 of its last 14.

"It's a new year and I have new teammates," Hampton said. "Keegan, Omar, Ricky -- those guys aren't here and we have younger guys. I'm more of a leader now. It's a different team. We're trying to get better and move forward."

One simple step forward tonight is that sophomore forward Stokes is expected to return from a broken right foot and play in his first game since Nov. 18.

"When Tay gets fully back and with Lance on the floor, I'm a much better defensive coach," Shulman said. "App has great size at the 3, 4, and 5, so we could do some different things Thursday."

In facing ASU tonight and Western Carolina (7-10, 4-1) on Saturday, the Mocs have a chance to move up in the Southern Conference North Division standings. Or fall behind the leaders with losses.

Next week the Mocs play division games on the road at Elon and UNC Greensboro. It's an important four-game stretch in the middle of the season.

"You have home conference games and they're important," Shulman said. "These are important games. But we're not good enough to think about a homestand. This is one game and possession against Appalachian, and they're really good."

The Mountaineers have won five games in a row and six of their last seven with Mike Neal returning from academic suspension and interim point guard Trice moving back to his wing position.

Trice was on the floor last year when Hampton broke his heart.

"It's one of the best moments of my college career," Hampton said. "The ball fell in my hands and I just made a play because Coach didn't call a timeout."

It's a play ASU remembers all too well.