Mocs win 111-110 in double OT

photo UTC's Ricky Taylor shoots for three in the game against UNC Greensboro Thursday at McKenzie Arena.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team handles misfortune much better than good fortune.

The Mocs turned a 20-point lead into a 111-110 double-overtime victory against UNC Greensboro in McKenzie Arena on Thursday night. Junior guard Ricky Taylor scored the winning layup and 41 points, the third most in UTC's Division I history.

What could have been a blowout after the Mocs led 59-39 with 14:57 to play in regulation became a typical close Southern Conference victory for them.

UTC (12-10, 8-2) is 9-1 in games with a difference of five points or less with five minutes to play. The Mocs' only blowout victories have come against non-Division I teams.

"We got up by 20 and then we became complacent mentally and physically," Taylor said. "We thought we had the game in our hands. It was a crazy, exciting, anxious game, and we're fortunate."

His total was the most for a Moc against a Division I team in McKenzie Arena. Only Oliver Morton (50) and John Oliver (42) have scored more in a UTC jersey as D-I players.

"It felt like a 40-point night," Taylor said. "I'm fatigued, and I need to get fluids and energy back in my body."

UTC point guard Keegan Bell also had a career night with 24 points, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 83 at the end of regulation.

UNCG guards Korey Van Dussen and Brandon Evans had career highs with 33 and 28 points. They combined to sink 13 of the Spartans' 17 3-pointers, which set an arena record.

"Was that three overtimes?" UTC coach John Shulman said as he began postgame interviews. "There are some valuable lessons both ways for us. We got up 20, we got complacent and didn't guard. The game should have been over at that moment.

"But the game isn't over until it's over. I don't really know what happened. But I'm glad we won by one."

Bell sent the game to overtime with his 3-pointer, which answered one by Kyle Randall. As overtime started, UNCG (3-16, 3-6) scored on five straight possession and UTC scored on six straight.

Chris Early gave UTC a 100-98 lead with 5.2 seconds to go, but Trevis Simpson sent the game to a second overtime by driving the length of the floor and kissing a shot off the glass.

"Everybody hit big shots. It went back and forth and neither team really got defensive stops," UNCG coach Mike Dement said. "Ricky Taylor was tremendous, and so were several of our players.

"It looked like whoever would have the ball last or got the last stop would win."

UNCG got two straight stops and built a 109-102 lead with 1:59 to go in the second extra period.

Then Dontay Hampton converted a three-point play, UNCG hit one free throw and Taylor hit a 3 to pull the Mocs within two. UNCG missed but the Mocs gave it right back on a 10-second violation.

Then Hampton made a steal and sank one free throw with 31 seconds left, leaving UTC down by one and needing a steal or to foul.

Taylor popped the ball from Randall and to Bell, who flipped ahead to Taylor for a one-point lead. Early grabbed a rebound with 1.9 seconds left, leaving UNCG with only a prayer.

It wasn't answered.

Once again, the Mocs turned a dire situation into a distinct victory.

"We've been there before, but I'd like not to be down seven in double-overtime," Bell said. "We believe in each other. When bad things happen, we know the game is about runs, and we know we can get a stop."

They didn't get many, just enough -- like always in victory.

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