DAVIDSON, N.C. — Davidson simply dominated.
The result was a 94-51 Southern Conference whipping of the first-place University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team.
On the block, De'Mon Brooks beat Zaccheus Mason. On the glass, Davidson beat the Mocs by 18 rebounds. In the paint, the Wildcats won by 46. And their reserves -- with all 10 participating -- beat UTC's bench guys 31-14.
"I'm disappointed and trying to figure out how we pick up the pieces," UTC coach Will Wade said. "We're disappointed. We lost an opportunity. You have to turn the page quickly."
The Mocs (14-9, 8-1) had a 10-game winning streak slammed to a halt as abruptly as snow can cripple the traffic flow of an unprepared city.
UTC's conference lead shrank to a half-game and loss of the one-game tiebreaker -- should it be needed later -- to Davidson.
And the reigning SoCon player of the year, Brooks, outplayed this year's leading candidate so far, Mason, from the opening tip.
Brooks scored 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including a 3-pointer in transition, and grabbed 12 rebounds. Jordan Barham scored 16 points while Tyler Kalinoski and Tom Droney added 11 points each for the Wildcats (11-11, 7-1).
"Brooks played much better tonight," said Wade, whose team will host Furman on Saturday. "He killed us in there; they killed us in the paint. I think Z is going to bounce back strong and be ready to go Saturday."
Mason, who had been averaging 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, finished with seven points on 2-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds.
"Mason had a difficult night," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "I thought Casey Jones was sensational. He's certainly an all-conference performer."
Jones led UTC with 20 points -- nearly 40 percent of UTC's production -- on 7-of-12 shooting and six free throws.
"We brought effort, but they brought more and it shows in the stats," Jones said. "They wanted it more. They out-toughed us."
None of the other Mocs scored more than seven points on a team that had lost only once when four or more players scored at least 10 points.
The Mocs shot 16-for-49 from the field and missed all 13 3-point tries, ending a streak of at least one made 3 per game since Jan. 17, 1998.
"They sagged in on us, and we didn't give ourselves a chance," Wade said. "We tried to score off the first drive instead of getting multiple drives. We shot too many contested shots."
In the last scheduled game between these two SoCon titans -- Davidson is leaving for the Atlantic 10 Conference this summer -- never lived up to the billing between the top two teams in the league.
Davidson led by nine about 10 minutes into the game. Already up by 10, it closed the first half on a 10-2 run for a 53-25 advantage at halftime.
"They came out and took away everything we wanted to do," junior captain Ronrico White said. "They outplayed us. They did everything they wanted tonight."
The Wildcats built their lead to 30 points less than 10 minutes into the second half. Two minutes later Wade called for time and spread his arms while giving an exasperated look.
"That's as terrific of a performance as we've had in years," McKillop said. "I'm just so proud of the effort they made and the execution they had. Offense and defense, we really clicked."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
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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