Mocs face Kennesaw after it upsets Tech

Mocs face Kennesaw after it upsets Tech

November 17th, 2010 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press UTC coach John Shulman cannot believe the call by one of the referees during Monday nights loss to Austin Peay.

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press UTC...

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team opened its season against a team coming off an upset loss.

The Vols were humbled by Indianapolis, a Division II team, and then thumped the Mocs by 20 points in a game UT could have won by 30 or more.

UTC's third game of the season will come against a team that pulled off an early-season stunner on Monday - so impressive that ESPN repeatedly highlighted it during the network's 24-hour marathon of games Tuesday.

Kennesaw State beat Georgia Tech 80-63 on Monday night, while the Mocs lost 70-67 to Austin Peay at home.

"They looked like the Lakers last night," Mocs coach Shulman said before practice Tuesday. "There were 5,000 people in that place - they were turning people away at the door - and the game wasn't even close. At the tip, they were up 20 and stayed up 20.

"They could have beat a lot of, almost every, team in the country last night."

The Mocs (0-2) have played one team that's angry, and they'll play one team that's riding an emotional high when they face the Owls (2-0) at 7:30 tonight in the KSU Convocation Center.

"Maybe we can catch Kennesaw on a high," junior guard Ricky Taylor said. "We have to make sure we're ready to roll and able to come back with a punch."

KSU's victory over Georgia Tech is undoubtedly the program's biggest victory since it won the 2004 Division II national championship.

"It's off the charts as far as we're concerned," said KSU coach Tony Ingle, a former Northwest Whitfield High School all-tri-state player and Northwest and Southeast Whitfield coach. "To have this kind of victory this early is insane for what it means to alumni, parents, recruits and publicity."

The Owls spent four years in a reclassification period, then debuted in the Atlantic Sun Conference last year with the likes of Lipscomb, Belmont and East Tennessee State.

Their win Monday was their first against an opponent from a BCS conference, and not only that, the opponent resides about 20 minutes away. The victory is more impressive and historic than UTC's win at Tennessee in 2005 - that big for that fledgling program.

"Everybody has been on cloud nine and in la-la-land," Ingle said. "They're just floating around. When the guys laid down last night, their eyes were still looking at the ceiling."

The results of the historic win could lead to a loss. Ingle, who had yet to respond to all of his e-mails, texts and voice-mails of congratulations, is afraid his team is exhausted - physically and emotionally.

"It's going to be very tough to get them to refocus after beating Georgia Tech, and we had the largest crowd and the biggest game in the history of the school and we beat them decisively," Ingle said. "Physically, our guys are wore out and drained, and they've got everybody telling them how great they are.

"I know UTC is going to put a hard, hustling, battling team on the floor, and they're going to be prepared, as will all the teams we play the rest of the year."