published Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

SoCon features tight games, 'parity'

  • photo
    Lance Stokes (3) of UTC pulls down a rebound in the first half against Samford Monday at McKenzie Area.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga trailed by 11 points, fought back for a small lead, then went into overtime with Samford on Monday night with the game tied at 55.

Over in Cullowhee, N.C., Wofford and Western Carolina battled until the final seconds, when WCU's Trey Sumler buried a jump shot for a 57-56 win over the visiting Terriers.

It was just another typical night in the Southern Conference.

"We call this, in coaching, a root canal," UTC coach John Shulman said. "Those aren't always fun."

Of the 75 SoCon league games that have been contested this year, 20 have been decided by three points or less or in overtime. That's almost 27 percent.

"It's a clarification that there is great parity in the league and there is a competitive hunger in this league," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "There are guys that can hurt you on any given night. You never know who's going to get hot, and as a result you get these close games."

UTC's Mocs (10-15, 5-7) have won two games in overtime and lost by two at Georgia Southern and by three to the College of Charleston. Wofford has lost both of its one-possession games.

"The difference is young and old -- guys that have been there and made those plays," Terriers coach Mike Young said. "Trey Sumler, how many of those situations has he been in? A bunch. He's been there and done that."

Each SoCon squad has five or six regular-season games remaining, and Thursday has a full slate of six games. The league tournament begins March 8 in Asheville, N.C.

"A lot of games are coming down to the last possession, and in these last six games you're going to see a lot more close games," Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young said. "Some of the teams that weren't playing well early are playing well now. There are a lot of teams that will make the rest of the season competitive."

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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