John Shulman jumped into a swimming pool with his sons about 30 minutes after the Mocs beat Longwood in the last-place game of the South Padre Island Invitational.
It was the only time the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga enjoyed his time on the Mocs' four-game road trip in which they went 1-3.
Losing three games over the nine days isn't totally surprising. A loss at Missouri was surely expected, and perhaps the Mocs would lose two games close.
But the other losses were uninspiring.
The Mocs were overwhelmed at Richmond 75-49 in their first road game of the season, then lost at Missouri before playing a half-hearted game in a 61-50 loss to previously-winless Texas-Pan America.
"We were a bad basketball team after losing to Texas-Pan American," Shulman said over the phone. "Last week, after we beat East Tennessee, we were a great basketball team."
Beating Longwood 74-70 on Sunday salvaged the trip and prevented the excursion from becoming a disaster. Shulman said they beat the better of the two teams they faced and lost to the lesser squad in the South Padre Island Convention Center.
"I don't think we'll see this trip as being a success until later, like when we play Samford because they play like Richmond," Shulman said. "Or when somebody presses us because nobody in our league can pressure like Missouri."
The Mocs (3-3) learned on Saturday they are capable of coming from behind to win if they play solid defense and swish open shots created by teamwork on the offensive side. Sophomore guard Ricky Taylor made the game-deciding shot, a 3-pointer from deep on the right wing, against the Lancers on Saturday.
"We had a tough run here but it was fun to be Chattanooga again," point guard Keegan Bell said over the phone. "We didn't do our stuff against Richmond, Missouri or the other game, but we brought the energy and it was fun."
As Shulman often says, this team is young and inexperienced, and missed four key components when they left Chattanooga. But during the trip, sophomore forward Dante Harvey made his first appearance of the season against and his first start against
The Mocs could get sophomore forward Chris Early back in the rotation as soon as their game Tuesday at Jacksonville State.
Early has a doctor's appointment and an X-ray on his previously broken right hand scheduled for late today. He could be cleared to play against the Gamecocks, or doctors could hold him out longer.
"We're evolving into what we're supposed to look like and it's taking some time," Shulman said. "Hopefully Chris's X-ray is clean, and I'm not sure about him playing Tuesday, but let's get him prepared to play against Elon on Saturday."