Montreat exposed flaws in UTC win

Montreat exposed flaws in UTC win

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

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Will Wade.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Will Wade's "Chaos" seemed to be missing a few letters Saturday night.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga rarely used its full-court presses in a 108-51 beating of Montreat, especially after the Cavaliers diced it several times in the opening minutes.

A multitude of full-court pressures is a staple of what Wade has brought to UTC since his hiring as coach in May. "Chaos" is a key component of how he wants the Mocs to play.

"I'm disappointed that we couldn't get our full-court pressure going," Wade said. "We didn't have it. We weren't into it as we needed to be."

Full-court pressure is going to be vital in games against Division I competition.

"They have some things that they need to work out, and Will knows that," said Montreat coach Lincoln Walters, a former UTC player. "If the press is beat, you're giving up layups, and early on we saw that and got some easy transition points."

How? On one occasion, Montreat point guard Kerigan Farley inbounded the pass, faked one way, then took a flipped pass back to him and dribbled all the way to the basket for a layup less than two minutes into the game.

"We screened the backside of their press, no matter what it was," Walters said. "In short, handed it back to the point guard going downhill so he could see the floor."

Walters had a little advance knowledge of how UTC would defend his Cavaliers in the full court. It came while the two coaches were standing in line for lunch during the Southern Conference Tip-Off last month in Asheville.

"Will said, 'We have 12 presses in and we need to get our other five in,'" Walters recalled. "I thought, 'I didn't know there were 17 different presses.'"

Apparently there are in Wade's system.

But the Mocs barely used them Saturday. They didn't need to -- in large part because UTC played stout half-court defense against an inferior opponent -- and it would have been disrespectful to press Walters' team after leading by 21 points at halftime.

"We didn't have an urgency to match up; we didn't have an urgency in our traps," Wade said. "We were just lackadaisical in our press. That's unacceptable effort. We looked like we didn't want to press tonight. I told them that."

Yet UTC forced 28 turnovers and made 20 steals with sophomore Gee McGhee swiping the ball five times. Most of that production came from what Wade called the best half-court defense UTC has played all season -- in a practice or a game.

"We'll take all the negatives and try to fix what we can," sophomore wing Casey Jones said. "We went to the locker room and talked right about Kennesaw State and the mistakes we made tonight."

The Mocs host fellow NCAA Division I team Kennesaw at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.