Feb. 14, 2014
Chattanooga, Tenn. - Chattanooga's Z. Mason delivered 23 points including a clutch elbow jumper halting a Western Carolina run late in the second half as the second place Mocs held on for the 83-73 win over the Catamounts Friday night in a Southern Conference game inside McKenzie Arena.
With the win, UTC remains in second place in the SoCon standings at 16-11 overall and 10-2 in league play, while WCU slips a spot to fifth at 14-12 on the year and 7-4 in conference action.
Trailing by 16 points, 65-49, following a Martynas Bareika 3-point field goal, WCU fought back using a 12-0 run to cut the lead down to four points, 65-61, on back-to-back James Sinclair corner 3-pointers -- from each side of the court -- with 7:20 left forcing a Chattanooga timeout. Sinclair had eight of the 12 points during the spurt. Mason halted a nearly six-minute scoring drought for the Mocs with a fade-a-way elbow jumper with a defender's hand in his face following the UTC timeout putting Chattanooga back up six points, 67-61.
The Catamounts answered with an acrobatic reverse layup by Sinclair on its next possession, but the Mocs regained control of the game with two free throws by Gee McGhee and a putback dunk by Mason giving UTC an eight point, 71-63, advantage with five minutes to play.
After WCU's Brandon Boggs converted a layup, Chattanooga pushed the lead back to nine points, 65-74, on a Casey Jones old-fashion three-point play with three minutes remaining all but sealing the game as the Mocs hit nine of their ten free throw attempts in the closing minutes to claim the 83-73 win.
Mason led five Mocs in double figures as the Southern Conference's leading scorer tallied a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from behind the arc. Mason also grabbed eight rebounds and swatted away three shots. McGhee followed with a double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 15 rebounds - 13 of which came on the defensive end. Jones added 14 points highlighted by an 8-of-10 performance from the free throw line, while Ronrico White chipped in 11 points off the bench by going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Bareika also contributed double-digits coming off the bench with ten points exploiting the Catamounts big men from behind the arc by going 4-of-8 from the field including two 3-pointers.
Brandon Boggs paced the Catamounts with his second 20-point game of the season with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the line. Sinclair added 15 points, while Sumler notched 12 points, 10 of which came in the first half. His only points of the second half came on a layup with 46 seconds to play.
After fairly even shooting percentages in the first half from the floor - UTC at 43 percent and WCU at 41 percent - the Catamounts cooled off to shoot 36 percent in the second half, while the Mocs continued their pace going 42 percent in the final 20 minutes. Chattanooga ended 26-of-61 from the field for 43 percent, while Western Carolina made 26 of their 68 field goal attempts for 38 percent. The Purple & Gold suffered its second worst shooting percent from behind the arc - 4-of-25 for 16 percent, while Chattanooga made six of its 16 shots from long range for 38 percent.
The Mocs controlled the glass in the game outrebounding the Catamounts 49-38. Chattanooga cleaned up the boards grabbing 31 defensive rebounds limiting league leading WCU offensive rebounds to 16 leading to only 13 second chance points.
The Catamounts scored the first four points of the game before the Mocs exploded with 17 unanswered points taking a 17-4 lead with 12:17 to play. Boggs ended a six and a half minutes scoreless streak for WCU with a baseline jumper at the 12-minute mark cutting the lead to 17-6.
Chattanooga stretched the lead out to as high as 16 points, 30-14, and held a 14 point lead, 37-23, at the five-minute mark when Bareika nailed a triple, however, WCU closed out the final five minutes with a 15-5 run holding the Mocs to only two field goals over the stretch. Sumler scored four of his 10 first half points in the final five minutes, and Justin Browning provided a spark off the WCU bench tallying four points and three rebounds.
The Mocs regained a double-digit lead, 62-48, on two free throws by Casey Jones and a jumper by Z. Mason at the 13-minute mark in the second half setting the table for the WCU's comeback run.
Western Carolina stays on the road as the Catamounts continue its three-game road swing at UNCG on Sunday, February 16 with tipoff in the Greensboro Coliseum scheduled for 2 p.m. The Catamounts defeated the Spartans 72-51 in the first meeting between the two schools this season in Cullowhee on the January 2.
Western Carolina at Chattanooga Game Notes
- With the loss WCU falls to 14-12 overall and 7-4 in the SoCon ... Chattanooga improves to 59-22 in the all-time series, 48-19 in SoCon games and 33-3 in home games against the Catamounts.
- WCU made only four of its 25 3-point field goals in the game for 16 percent ... It was WCU's second lowest 3-point field goal percentage of the season ... WCU went 3-of-25 for 12 percent at Virginia Tech on November 15;
- The Catamounts four 3-pointers made matched its second lowest output of the season ... The three makes at VaTech were the lowest ... WCU made four 3-pointers at Kent State on November 21.
- Chattanooga outrebounded WCU 49-38 Friday ... The Catamounts have been outrebounded 14 times and are 3-11 in those games ... The minus 11-point rebounding margin was the third highest deficit for the Catamounts this season ... Davidson outrebounded WCU 15 on January 23 and VaTech held a plus 14 margin over the Catamounts on November 15.
- With a team-high 21 points Friday, Brandon Boggs has strung four double-digit scoring games together for a season-long streak ... It was his second 20-point game of the year and one shy of his season-high 22 points against Charleston Southern on December 18.
- Trey Sumler moved up in three WCU career categories during the game ... With his 15 field goal attempts he moved into second all-time, 1,403 attempting, passing former Southern Conference Player of the Year and current Catamount assistant coach Anquell McCollum who attempted 1,391 shots;
- With eight 3-point field goal attempts Sumler jumped two spots into fourth place with 530 career 3-point field goals attempted ... He passed Keaton Cole - 526 attempts - and Kyle Greathouse - 528 attempts;
- Sumler also moved into fourth place with five free throw attempts Thursday ... He now has 541 free throw attempts passing Danny Tharpe and his 540 attempts.