KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defended well but struggled from the field for the second consecutive game in a 58-46 loss at 17th-ranked Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Mocs (3-3) next travel to Niceville, Florida, to play in the Emerald Coast Classic. They'll face Alabama State on Friday and play either Jacksonville State or Chicago State on Saturday, depending on Friday's results.
UTC shot just 34% from the field and was led by David Jean-Baptiste and Matt Ryan with nine points each. Ramon Vila struggled from the field (2-for-8), but had a team-high eight rebounds.
Here is the Good, the Bad and the Verdict from the Mocs' perspective:
The Mocs defended well. The Volunteers shot just 37% from the field and guards Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner — Tennessee's leading scorers — were held to 10-of-31 shooting, and it was probably UTC's best defensive performance of the season. Coach Lamont Paris said he felt the Mocs were solid defensively and could have made the game closer, had they taken care of things on the offensive end.
But they didn't take care of things on the offensive end. Tennessee's length defensively threw the UTC offense off kilter for much of the game, and most shots were defended closely if not blocked. Vila was unable to do anything inside, and even made shots were contested. UTC likes the 3-pointer, but even open looks weren't falling as the game wore on.
It's not the worst loss in the world. If anything, it could be encouraging because if the Mocs are able to continue defending at the level they did Monday while finding things offensively, they'll be competitive in the Southern Conference. But after consecutive games of not shooting well, something they consider a strength, the Mocs will need some sort of spark going forward.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.