David Uchiyama's Note
We tried something new Friday and had 100 percent positive support for a return effort of Mocs Talk: Notes From the Road. Granted, the 100 percent came from a small sample size, as if when I played bogey-free golf -- for two holes.
Here we go from my favorite road trip in the SoCon.
The Opening Tip
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- There has to be beachcombers in this area of the country looking for lost artifacts from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, waving their metal detectors across the sand for long-lost treasure. I don't know, it's just a guess.
Well, the Mocs found something that's been lost this season Saturday in their 87-85 double-overtime loss at the College of Charleston.
They found "it."
The real "It" can be as difficult to describe as the glow from a briefcase in "Pulp Fiction."
The Mocs played with arguably the top team in the Southern Conference and scared the 4,358 in TD Arena so much that one courtside regular said, "This game is over," when UTC led 47-40 with 9:50 to go in regulation.
The Fan In Black was wrong. But he received 10 minutes of basketball beyond whatever price he paid for those seats and jumped onto the court when the game ended. And the fellow exited the arena in a much better mood than Mocs coach John Shulman or his players.
The loss at Butler and loss at Charleston are high-water marks of the season for UTC.
Mocs' Chalk Talk
Coach John Shulman talked after the game about how the Mocs went back to basics when defending ball-screens.
In short, they squeezed.
That means that when a Charleston player came to set a screen for the ball-handler, the screener's defender squeezed as close to him as possible, while the man guarding the dribbling player drifted closer to the basket and appeared on the other side of the screen to defend his man.
Playing screens this way, especially against Charleston, gives the ball-handler enough space to shoot a 3-pointer.
The Cougars attempted 43 3-pointers. They attempted 68 shots in all.
Stokes Stats: DNP/CD
That's code for Lance Stokes, a late surprise Thursday at Georgia Southern with eight points: Did Not Play, Coach's Decision.
Stokes and I talked for a few minutes before practice Friday. In all honesty, we haven't talked much yet this season, but when we have, he's honest and open and seems to be a good representative of UTC athletics.
Here are some quality words he spoke Friday after playing power forward for the first time as a Moc.
"In high school I played a lot of 4, but in AAU I barely played any," Stokes said. "Coach and I talked, so maybe I'll move. I'll play whatever. I can use my dribble against big men to make things happen."
- Starting 0-2 in the SoCon is bad.
UTC already is two games behind Appalachian State and will stare at that record for more than a month. The only hint of good in the Mocs' 0-2 league start is that both losses came to South Division teams, which factors less into division and tournament seeding than losses to two North teams.
- Hit the books
The Mocs are off for a week to keep the "student" part of the NCAA's term "student-athletes" intact. They will play Dec. 10 at Mercer.
- Enough or not?
Take out the non-Division I game against Dennis the Menace's neighbor Mr. (Warren) Wilson, and the Mocs have played two games with the effort and execution to win -- Butler and Charleston.
The Open Floor
Q: Does taking Charleston to double overtime mean anything in the long run?
Uch's answer: Yeah. It sets a new standard and adds perspective, because if the Mocs busted their butts so much in one SoCon game to reach overtimes against a top league team, then they've received a sniff of victory that seemed impossible after Thursday's loss in Statesboro.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...