published Friday, January 20th, 2012

UTC Mocs fall by 9 at UNCG

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team lost 81-72 at UNC Greensboro on Thursday, which dropped the Mocs to 0-9 in games played away from McKenzie Arena this season.

UNCG reserve guard Derrell Armstrong led all players with a career-high 29 points. Kyle Randall added 15 points for the Spartans, who now have won three straight games after winning just two of their first 16.

Senior Omar Wattad led UTC with 19 points. Classmate Ricky Taylor added 18, and junior Drazen Zlovaric scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Mocs (9-1, 3-4).

"Towards the end, we made mental mistakes," Taylor said on the UTC postgame radio show. "UNCG was scrappy tonight. They got a lot of loose balls. They outworked us."

The Mocs jumped to a 7-0 lead, but UNCG responded with 13 straight points. The Spartans (5-14, 3-4) never trailed again in the first half.

Armstrong led the UNCG charge by scoring 16 points in the first half. He hit six of 10 shots from the field, including three of six from the 3-point line after entering the game with five 3s made this year.

For UTC, Zlovaric scored 12 of his points before the break, and Wattad had 10 points when the Mocs regrouped down 37-31 at halftime. In a statistical oddity, reserves accounted for 36 of UNCG's 37 points in the first half.

The visitors opened the second half on an 8-0 run, and UNCG interim coach Wes Miller called for time at the moment UTC took its first two-trip lead since the opening minutes.

UNCG then went ahead 55-50 with about 10 minutes to play and went up by seven points about three minutes later. The Spartans led 69-57 after two free throws from Randall with 4:42 to go.

Point guard Keegan Bell pulled UTC within 72-70 with about 90 seconds to go, but the Mocs couldn't get any closer.

"We had opportunity after opportunity," coach John Shulman said after the game on 105.1 FM. "We're right there. We just have to keep on battling."

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