STATESBORO, Ga. — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team almost made a second historic comeback this season.
Instead, the Mocs fell 59-57 at Georgia Southern after trailing by 21 points early in the second half of the Southern Conference game. Earlier this season they rallied from a 19-point hole to beat Appalachian State.
They couldn't quite make it all the way again.
"Unfortunately we fell short tonight," senior Drazen Zlovaric said. "It was a great comeback for us. It's really tough on the road to dig deep down and find motivation and juice to come back from that deficit."
The Mocs (8-14, 3-6) were led by 19 points from freshman guard Gee, McGhee who made 12 of 15 free throws and hit UTC's only 3-pointer of the game. Junior post Zaccheus Mason added 14 points, and Zlovaric had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Eagles (10-13, 4-6) were led by 19 points from C.J. Reed, who had 11 points in the first six minutes of the game. Eric Ferguson, who hit the last basket of the game, added 16 points.
"They came out and made shots early, and we couldn't get a stop," UTC coach John Shulman said. "Down 21, to come back and take the lead, I'm proud of our kids.
"We battled here and had a chance to win."
The Mocs never led in the first half and trailed by 11 points less than 10 minutes into the game. They went into halftime down 36-23.
The Eagles, coached by former Shulman assistant Charlton Young, opened a 48-27 lead with 16:13 to play on a three-point play by Reed -- the first time they led by 20 or more.
But UTC chipped away at the lead and GSU missed 11 straight field-goal tries. McGhee pulled UTC within 56-55 with 1:37 to go with his 3 after the Mocs missed their first 11 long-range attempts.
McGhee hit two free throws to give UTC a 57-56 lead with 40.2 seconds left.
But Ferguson, a potential NBA player, hit a 3-pointer with 11.7 seconds left.
McGhee attempted a 3-pointer with four seconds left that missed the rim and backboard.
"There was contact, but I made a good move -- I pump-faked," McGhee said. "I was off-balance, so that's why I airballed the shot."