ELON, N.C. — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team began its longest road trip of the year with an 85-61 Southern Conference loss at Elon on Thursday.
UTC coach John Shulman altered the starting lineup by inserting Sam Watson for Drazen Zlovaric and injured senior Dontay Hampton for Farad Cobb at point guard.
The on-court changes could not counter the 23 points scored by Elon guard Jack Isenbarger or the 18 added by forward Lucas Troutman. Ryley Beaumont scored 13 points and Tanner Samson added 12 for the Phoenix (12-7, 5-2).
The Mocs (8-12, 3-4) were led by 15 points from freshman guard Gee McGhee and 14 from junior forward Zaccheus Mason. Freshman wing Eric Robertson added 11 points.
"It was hard to stop them because if Troutman was not working, then one of their guards was hitting 3s," McGhee said on the postgame radio show. "We didn't defend how we should have."
Playing with a broken shooting hand that he injured last Thursday, Hampton injured his knee and did not play in the second half. He missed the first 15 games of the season in his recoveryfrom a torn ACL.
"He's the heart and soul of our team," Shulman said on the radio. "You see Tay go down with his knee, it does something to a team when your leader goes out. I didn't feel good about it."
Cobb did not play, according to Shulman, because he had a bad week of practice.
"This is a learning experience," the coach said. "He'll grow up and we'll see how he grows up."
Elon led UTC 38-28 at halftime and never trailed in the second half. UTC shot 30.6 percent from the floor and had only six assists on its 19 field goals. The Phoenix had 20 assists and shot 48.5 percent in the fourth straight game that UTC has surrendered at least 80 points.
The Mocs will play at UNC Greensboro on Sunday at 2 p.m. because a concert bumped the game from Saturday night.
Get breaking news from the Times Free Press on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timesfreepress or by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter at the right: