published Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Big post play key for Chattanooga Mocs against Samford tonight

  • photo
    UTC's Z. Mason (30) dribbles down the court as Killian Larson (32) of Grand Canyon attempts to block his way at McKenzie Arena.
    Photo by Maura Friedman /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Look out below.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Will Wade and Samford coach Bennie Seltzer have two of the best post players in the Southern Conference.

UTC’s Zaccheus Mason and the Bulldogs Tim Wilson be going head-to-head at times tonight when the Mocs (8-8, 2-0 SoCon) play the Bulldogs (6-11, 0-2) tonight at 7 in McKenzie Arena.

"It will be a battle," Wade said. "Both teams need that position to score, so whoever wins that matchup will have the best opportunity to win the game."

Although they are both post players who are more than willing to bang on the block when necessary, both Mason and Williams go about their scoring in different ways.

Williams, who was named Southern Conference player of the month for December, is sixth in the league in scoring and averages 17.6 points per game. Mason, the reigning SoCon player of the week, is fourth in the league with an average of 19.1 points per game.

"I think the reason Tim is so effective is his kill set," Seltzer said. "He's a very skilled forward and he maneuvers his way around the basket. He has an elusiveness that gets him easy baskets."

Williams has made one 3-pointer this season. Mason has rattled 19 through the rim.

"Last year, Z had one of the deadliest turn-around jumpers I've ever seen," Seltzer said. "Now, he's doing more. He is a force and he's shooting 3s, and that makes him even harder to defend."

So who has the advantage? Mason totaled 24 points and Williams had 31 in their two matchups last year. But this year, maybe neither team has the inside advantage.

"The matchup will play a big role," Williams said. "At the same time, other guys have to step up on both teams.

"But it will be a pretty big role in the game."

The location of the game could have something to do with the outcome as well. UTC is 5-1 at home and Samford is 1-9 on the road. Plus, the Mocs are rolling with four straight wins and the college football season is over, which should add to UTC's average attendance of 3,221.

Plus, Wade had plans to go recruiting on Wednesday. He went recruiting for students, who add another element to having a home-court advantage.

Wade said Tuesday night -- after judging a student slam-dunk contest -- that some players and coaches planned on having lunch in the University Center and spreading the word that the Mocs are playing tonight.

"We want to make sure there is awareness for our game," Wade said. "If people know, they will typically come. I think having students really adds to the game atmosphere."

And many eyes will be watching action on the block.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter 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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