published Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Chattanooga Mocs need corrections to continue streak

UTC's Gee McGhee takes the ball through Samford's Isaiah Williams (4) and Michael Bradley (25) Thursday in the game at McKenzie Arena.
UTC's Gee McGhee takes the ball through Samford's Isaiah Williams (4) and Michael Bradley (25) Thursday in the game at McKenzie Arena.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga built a 19-point first-half lead on Samford for a variety of reasons.

The Mocs shot well, defended well, pressed well and scored in transition.

But they couldn't extend the lead or bury the Bulldogs in the second half because they didn't do all of those things. That led to Samford making the Mocs work in the final minutes instead of having the end of the bench end the game.

"We've got to handle the details better," UTC coach Will Wade said Friday. "We've got to be able to play a complete game.

"We have to learn how to play a full game and be effective for 40 minutes. We've been effective for 20 or 30 minutes."

Wofford will do its best to make that difficult when the Terriers (7-8, 2-1) face the Mocs (9-8, 3-0) in another Southern Conference game tonight at 7 in McKenzie Arena.

"We have to be ready. We have to be alert," junior guard Ronrico White said after UTC beat Samford 90-81. "Wofford is a well-coached team. We have to be really prepared and be on our game."

The Mocs maintained a double-digit lead for the first 12 minutes of the game Thursday. But the Bulldogs hung around, and a bit of nervousness enveloped the crowd when Connor Miller cut UTC's lead to nine points with 7:36 to play. The Bulldogs played the better second half and avoided getting blown out the bay doors of McKenzie Arena.

"The way you get a lead from 18 to 25 is by not going off the map," Wade said. "What got you the lead is good enough to keep it moving in the right direction. You can't fall off from what got you there."

With Wade in his first year, the Mocs are at an unexpected spot right now. They're 3-0 in the SoCon and own a five-game winning streak since Christmas. Wade has been preaching about handling and responding to success for more than a week.

"When you go on a win streak like this, the expectations externally are going to be raised, and that means you have to raise your expectations internally and you have to do more," Wade said. "It's human nature to do less -- think you've arrived. We have to be cautious and guard against that."

Wofford coach Mike Young is in his 12th season and has won two SoCon tournament titles. Terriers forward Lee Skinner is coming off a career-high 28 points in Wofford's 79-75 overtime win against The Citadel on Thursday. He provides the inside presence while junior Karl Cochran provides a significant outside threat.

By tipoff tonight, the Mocs will have had about 46 hours to prepare and correct the errors from Thursday.

"We have to guard the ball, stick to our scout and have more discipline," Wade said. "There are some things that if you don't correct them, it'll bite you.

"We'll be crying on Saturday if we don't correct some things."

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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