published Friday, November 29th, 2013

Morehead State drops Mocs men's basketball in Vegas

Thanksgiving dinner would have tasted better after a win.

But the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team lost 88-75 to Morehead State in the Las Vegas Invitational on Thursday. The Mocs have lost their first three in the four-game trip to Nevada and California, including a 106-65 whipping at UCLA on Sunday.

"Morehead is a really good team, but not as good as UCLA," UTC coach Will Wade said on the postgame radio show. "Our effort was better. We battled."

Senior center Zaccheus Mason led the Mocs with 23 points, including 20 in the second half. Sophomore Gee McGhee scored 16 and freshman Greg Pryor added 10 for the Mocs, who dropped to 2-5 and do not have a Division I win this season. They will face IUPUI today at 3:30 p.m. EST.

The Eagles (6-2) were led by 22 points from junior guard Angelo Warner, 21 from reserve center Billy Reader and 16 from junior Kareem Storey.

IUPUI's Jaguars (1-6) lost 61-54 to Gardner-Webb in Thursday's first game in the Orleans Arena. Guard Ian Chiles scored 22 points in defeat.

"We need to get a win," Wade said on the radio. "We need to be ready to play tomorrow. We need to be excited.

"We need to go have Thanksgiving tonight. We need to turn the page quickly and be ready to go."

The Eagles shot 34-of-47 (72.3 percent) from the floor and made 18 of 25 free throws on UTC's 20 fouls. UTC shot 27-of-53 from the floor and a respectable 8-of-23 from the arc and was out-rebounded 29-17.

"Our half-court defense -- we were like a sieve. They could drive from any spot," Wade said on the radio. "They got a head of steam and drove it at will to the rim. Reader had his way with us inside. We gave up too many easy looks to him.

"I've never seen a team shoot that high of a percentage."

McGhee scored 10 straight points for UTC on four consecutive possessions including a pair of three-point plays that tied the score at 15. But the Mocs trailed 40-31 at halftime after allowing Morehead State to shoot 15-of-24 from the floor.

Mason scored 13 points in the first eight minutes of the second half, but in that span the Eagles used a 10-1 run to take a 65-51 lead with 11:43 to go. UTC's deficit grew to 73-55 and then 79-58 over the next six minutes, which all but eliminated an opportunity to win.

"I wanted to be aggressive in the second half," Mason said on the radio. "I wanted to give us a chance to come back in this game in the second half."

The comeback didn't come close.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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