The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga just did things a little bit better Tuesday afternoon than Radford.
The Mocs rebounded a little better, passed a little better and took a little bit better care of the ball.
Brown 2-5 1-2 5, Holcomb 5-12 0-2 10, Jones 3-9 1-1 8, Davis 9-13 4-5 24, Anderson 0-2 2-2 2, Owens 1-2 0-0 2, Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Tanner 4-6 1-2 13, Cousin 0-0 0-0 0, Polite 3-5 1-4 7, Lutete 1-2 0-0 2, Bolstad 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 29-58 10-18 75.
Ester 5-7 3-4 13, Tuoyo 2-5 2-5 6, McLean 3-5 0-0 6, Pryor 4-11 3-6 12, Robertson 3-8 2-3 11, Oldham 1-4 2-2 4, Burroughs-Cook 6-12 4-6 17, Ethridge 3-7 1-1 8. Totals 27-59 17-27 77.
Halftime—UTC, 41-33. 3-point goals—Radford 7-14 (Tanner 4-5, Davis 2-3, Jones 1-3, Anderson 0-1, Owens 0-1, Lutete 0-1); UTC 6-22 (Robertson 3-8, Burroughs-Cook 1-2, Ethridge 1-4, Pryor 1-6, Tuoyo 0-1, Oldham 0-1). Rebounds—Radford 34 (Holcomb 9); UTC 37 (Tuoyo 9). Assists—Radford 13 (Jones 3, Davis 3); UTC 15 (Robertson 5). Turnovers—Radford 12 (Holcomb 3, Davis 3); UTC 10 (Ester 3). Blocks—Radford 6 (Polite 3); UTC 6 (Tuoyo 4). Steals—Radford 4 (Holcomb 2); UTC 2 (McLean 2). Total fouls—Radford 22, UTC 15. Fouled out—none. A—2,522.
And for that, they got another significant win.
UTC had four double-figure scorers, led by Johnathan Burroughs-Cook with 17 points, and won 77-75 over the Highlanders in front of 2,522 fans at McKenzie Arena.
The Mocs (10-2) will finish their nonconference schedule next Tuesday at Lipscomb. The 10-2 start under Matt McCall is the best for a first-year head coach in the program since Ron Shumate in 1973-74 — when Wayne Golden, William Gordon and several other future Division II national champions were freshmen — and it came against a Highlanders group that owns wins over Georgetown and Penn State.
"Radford is a terrific team that can hurt you in a bunch of different ways," McCall said. "That was a gutsy win by our guys because they are a terrific team. Down the stretch, I felt like defensively we did a great job. We missed a few free throws, but we still got stops when we needed to get stops and got loose balls when we needed to get loose balls.
"It's a great win for our team. It's going to be a happy Christmas in the McCall household."
The Mocs put the ball in the hands of Burroughs-Cook and point guard Greg Pryor, who combined for 29 points, six assists and only one turnover against Radford's pressure defense.
"We work on that every day. We see it every day, so that doesn't faze us," Pryor said. "We made the next pass when we needed to and made layups when we needed to."
Chuck Ester had 13 points and six rebounds, Pryor added 12 points and three assists and Eric Robertson had 11 points and a team-high five assists for UTC. Justin Tuoyo scored only six points but had team highs of nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Mocs had a 19-4 run in the first half and took a 41-33 lead into the break. In the second half, their margin never reached double figures, but they never trailed. Radford tied the game at 61 on a drive by Rashun Davis with 6:55 to play, but the Mocs answered with Robertson finding Ester for a layup and Duke Ethridge hitting a 3-pointer for a five-point lead.
UTC built a six-point advantage on a three-point play by Tuoyo in the final minute and hit just enough free throws so that a half-court shot by Davis at the buzzer was meaningless.
"We know basketball is all about runs," Burroughs-Cook said. "They got their run; we got ours. We got the last one."
Radford's Davis had a game-high 24 points. Caleb Tanner was 4-for-5 from 3-point range in scoring 13 points — hitting two 3s in each half to help keep the Highlanders within striking distance throughout. Brandon Holcomb added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.