Shooters tend to get hot against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball Mocs.
UTC has allowed at least one opposing player to score at least 20 points in nine of its last 10 games, dating back to the first game of the Dr Pepper Classic.
Georgia Tech is the only opponent without a 20-point scorer in that stretch during which the Mocs went 5-5. They'll try to hold a Southern Conference team without a 20-point guy tonight at 7:30 at Georgia Southern.
"We have to keep playing our defensive principles and pay more attention to detail," said UTC sophomore Ronrico White, who likely will start at point guard. "We have to try and not let your man score."
Georgia Southern's leading candidates are 6-foot-7 forward Eric Ferguson, averaging 14.1 points per game, and 6-3 guard C.J. Reed, averaging 12.1.
UTC coach John Shulman would prefer that none of the Eagles (9-13, 3-6) join a distinguished list of players who have hurt the Mocs (8-13, 3-5). Those include Utah Valley's Holton Hunsaker (37 points), Samford's Raijon Kelly (27), Elon's Jack Isenbarger (23) and UNC Greensboro guard Trevis Simpson, who tied a school record with 41 points against UTC on Sunday.
"Those are some very good shooters, and most of the shots they shoot are over a hand," White said. "They're very good players making plays and knocking them down."
Appalachian State had Nathan Healy score 22 and Tab Hamilton add 21 in a 91-88 overtime loss at UTC. Western Carolina forward Tom Tankelewicz scored 21 and Trey Sumler had 25 in a win over UTC, making a total of 11 20-point scorers against the Mocs in their last 10 games.
All of them have reputations as all-star shooters.
"Some of it's how the game goes," Shulman said, "and some of it is that we haven't done a great job defending a perimeter guy."
UTC freshman guard Gee McGhee has been asked to switch defensive assignments at times to slow a hot shooter. So has forward Martynas Bareika, who is questionable for tonight's game due to a slight knee injury; he did not practice Friday.
"Guys are stepping up on the other team, and you can't stop somebody from making tough shots," McGhee said. "But we could start winning games.
"That's something we can change -- the outcome."
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 ...