Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Mocs hammer Sheridan; end trip 2-2

Mocs end Canadian trip with 99-69 win

It was only Labor Day weekend, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team had a players-only meeting.

Point guard Keegan Bell, a transfer from Vanderbilt, gathered the Mocs in their hotel late Sunday night to get everybody on the same page.

"I was trying to keep the guys positive because we struggled up here trying to find our identity," Bell said Monday from the Toronto airport. "It wasn't a bad meeting. But we'd struggled."

The Mocs worked through their struggles and concluded their four-game exhibition trip with an impressive 99-69 win Monday over Sheridan College.

"Winning allowed everybody to make the trek back," coach John Shulman said. "We needed that today. We needed a good day."

Sophomore guard Ricky Taylor led the Mocs with 29 points. He scored 25 in the second half when UTC outscored Sheridan 70-41. Junior college transfer DeAntre Jefferson added 17 points from the center position, and junior wing Jeff Smith added 12 points.

"We were horrible in the first half," Shulman said. "But we showed some character in the second half."

Bell said the team meeting had an impact on the players' performance. Monday's game started at 11 a.m. and was the Mocs' fourth in 49 hours in Canada. UTC went 2-2 on the trip.

"We weren't going to worry if we went 0-4," Bell said. "That last half, we played Chattanooga basketball and we feel good about that. I think ending with a win made everybody feel better. We played more like ourselves."

The Mocs will rest for a couple weeks before resuming individual workouts in advance of the official beginning of practice on Oct. 16. Junior forward Chris Early did not play in the last two games because of an injured ankle.

"I'm absolutely exhausted," Shulman said. "We went 2-2 and had chances to win the games we lost. It's better that we didn't because now we know the work ethic we have to put in."


Scrappy Bruins hang tough with Mocs, fall in second half

BRAMPTON, Ont. (September 7) -- For 27 minutes they were as unflappable as they were unrelenting in their pursuit of victory. Unfortunately for the Sheridan Bruins men's basketball team the game they play consists of 40 minutes and the Chattanooga Mocs - who used their size to their advantage - pulled away in the final 13 minutes on their way to a 99-69 victory.

"They're just too big and too strong and we're just too young right now," head coach Jim Flack said. "I'd like to [play them] again in about three months after we get some experience under our belt."

After ending the first half knotted at 29, Chattanooga jumped out quickly in the second half, building a 45-36 advantage. The scrappy Bruins clawed their way back to within two but couldn't pull any closer, as Chattanooga posted runs of 11-0 and 10-0 to build their nearly insurmountable lead.

Sophomore guard Ricky Taylor led the way for the Mocs with 29 points, 25 of which came in the second half including all four of his game-high three pointers.

While Flack was certainly disappointed with the end result of a game that seemed like a toss-up for most of it, he can at least appreciate the experience his players got in the process.

"We got a good look at a lot of people under pressure situations," he said. "So, for us it's all about who responded and how."

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