Every University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team has won at least one road game since it moved up to the Division I level in the fall of 1977 — every team except this one.
The Mocs fell to 0-13 on the road Wednesday night after losing 79-70 at Appalachian State in a game the Mountaineers controlled and sent the Mocs starters to the bench early in the second half.
"Our energy in the first half wasn't where we needed it to be," assistant coach Brent Jolly said on the UTC post-game radio show as he substituted for head coach John Shulman. "That second group battled and scrapped."
UTC reserve guard Dontay Hampton set a career-high with 17 points, and freshman Ronrico White set a career-high with 16 points as the UTC starters sat after they fell behind by 22 points. Center Drazen Zlovaric scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds before taking a seat.
ASU guard Mike Neal set a career-high with 23 points to lead the Mountaineers (11-15, 7-9 SoCon). Nathan Healy added 11 points, and Isaac Butts grabbed 16 rebounds.
UTC (10-18, 4-11) has only one more chance to earn a road victory this season when it plays next Thursday at Furman. Only the 1989-90 squad played later into its season before winning its first road game. That team collected its first road win on Feb. 17.
The Mountaineers owned an 11-10 lead early on. They expanded it to 29-19 with 6:30 to go, and then pushed their lead to 37-20 with 3:24 left in the first half. UTC went seven possessions with a total of one point during that stretch.
ASU headed into halftime with a 40-25 lead after 300-pound center Butts collected 11 rebounds before the break.
The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 20 points less than a minute into the second half after Neal hit a 3-pointer and Mitch Woods scored on a fast break. Shulman called timeout 93 seconds into the half and watched as ASU increased its lead to 22 points.
UTC pulled within 61-49 with a young lineup on the floor including redshirt freshman Martynas Bareika -- who set a career-high in minutes -- in addition to Hampton, White, Lance Stokes, Drew Baker and Jared Bryant.
The young lineup pulled as close as nine points on a dunk by Baker with 1:58 to go. They didn't pull close enough to threaten ASU.
"We wanted to provide energy and keep fighting," White said on the radio. "You don't want it to go down to the six players on the bench. We did an OK job at it. We still messed up things that we have to correct."
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