Ridge McKeither did a little jig while waiting in the handshake line after his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team won for the first time this month.

The Mocs beat Davidson 78-73 in their final home game of the season, ending a five-game losing streak.

"It's great to get a win after we've been so down," senior Ty Patterson said after the Southern Conference victory. "And to beat Davidson -- when was the last time we beat Davidson? It's great to get back on the winning side."

Patterson was honored before the game in a senior night ceremony and responded with 20 points and eight rebounds. He scored 14 points in the second half, 11 of them in the final eight minutes while the outcome was in question.

"It was particularly impressive that Patterson played so well on senior night, because usually the emotions of senior night don't lend themselves to that," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "He played like an all-conference performer tonight."

UTC sophomore guard Ricky Taylor tied a career high with 22 points, and point guard Keegan Bell added 16 points for the Mocs (14-15, 6-10).

Freshman Jake Cohen led Davidson (14-14, 9-7) with 16 points. Brendan McKillop scored 15 points on five 3-pointers, and Nik Cochran had 13 points for the Wildcats.

The Mocs ended an eight-game losing streak to the Wildcats, who had NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Stephen Curry for the last three seasons. UTC last had beat the Wildcats in January of 2006.

"Any time you're losing five in a row, you're desperate to get a win," Bell said. "We very were hungry. We had a lot of passion; we had a lot of juice.

"We wanted to do it for Ty and for this team."

The Mocs did it by following coach John Shulman's recipe for success: defense, rebounding and free throws.

UTC limited Davidson to 41.5 percent from the floor, outrebounded the Cats by six and outscored them 18-5 at the free-throw line. UTC shot 27 free throws because players -- notably Bell and Taylor -- were able to penetrate and threw the ball inside, where post players were fouled.

"We've struggled with he formula all year," Shulman said. "I thought we dug a little deeper. I told them, 'Quit worrying about the scoreboard and just worry about this possession.'"

The Mocs owned a 19-6 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Later in the first half, Davidson went on a 15-2 run -- all on 3-pointers -- to take a 28-23 lead that became 35-32 by halftime.

UTC began the second half with an 8-0 run, forcing Coach McKillop to call a timeout. Ownership of the lead flip-flopped until Taylor hit four straight free throws and Patterson added a trey as part of a 11-0 spurt that gave UTC a 61-52 lead with 6:27 to go. Davidson never threatened to steal that lead away.

"Once they got the lead back, they played with a lot more flow and rhythm," McKillop said, "like pitching with a 9-0 lead instead of a 1-0 lead. Ricky Taylor and Ty Patterson made some very difficult shots.

"I think UTC made us have a below-average performance."

Which resulted in an above-average result for the Mocs.

Next Article

Georgia gets center pledge

Previous Article

'Winning plays' pay off