ATLANTA — Georgia Tech has worked out the kinks in the sparkling renovated McCamish Center.
The Mocs worked out a few kinks in their final non-conference game of the season while falling 74-58 to the Yellow Jackets.
"That was a hard game to play for both teams," University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach John Shulman said as employees cleaned the arena. "We're ready to get into conference play, and they're getting ready to get in ACC play."
The difference in size proved to play a critical role between the Atlantic Coast Conference school and the Southern Conference's Mocs.
Georgia Tech (10-2) out-rebounded UTC 42-25, pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, and scored 21 second-chance points.
"It's not concerning because we just played an ACC opponent with gigantic athletes," Shulman said. "I think we're ready for 17 in a row conference games. We looked a little dead-legged. My concern is where's our legs and where's our freshness?"
Marcus Georges-Hunt led all players with 16 points. Mfon Udofia added 14 points and Robert Carter Jr. scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
The Mocs (5-9), who will play at Samford on Saturday, were led by 14 points from Zaccheus Mason and 14 points from freshman Farad Cobb who had two total points in the Dr Pepper Classic.
"I'd been in a horrible slump," said Cobb, who was 4-of-7 shooting and had four assists with no turnovers. "I got out of that. I got some confidence tonight."
And the Mocs, despite playing a bigger, stronger and more experienced team on its home floor, left Atlanta without having its confidence shaken.
They could have been blown out of the building which held 5,829 including a couple dozen UTC supporters. But they hung with the Yellow Jackets. Shulman thought the Mocs could still pull out a win when he called for time with 5:03 to go and his team down 13 points.
"I was worried that this would shock our confidence," Shulman said. "If we rebound the ball, we have a shot to win in here. We are still making strides.
"I don't think we leave here a shaken bunch. I think we leave here thinking that if we rebound, we beat Georgia Tech."
UTC inched ahead early and maintained a lead for most of the first half including a 17-10 lead with 8:45 to go before the break. But the Mocs scored only six points -- a 3-pointer and three free throws by Ronrico White -- before halftime.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets pulled ahead for a 28-23 lead at halftime. With Mason picking up his second foul with 7:55 to go, the Mocs had to look elsewhere for offense. Then Cobb picked up his second foul of the game and Shulman called for a much slower pace trying to to get to the lockerroom within striking distance of Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets played with a different intensity level, especially on the glass, to open the second half. Their first seven points were second-chance points and helped them build a 13-point lead less than seven minutes into the second half. They went on to lead by as many as 18 and finished with 34 points in the paint.
"We came up short big-time on the glass," Mason said. "There were a lot of effort plays we didn't make. We didn't do that tonight, and in the end we came up short."
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 ...