Moctoberfest Day 8: Mocs Win 1st NCAA Tourney Game

Moctoberfest is a month-long celebration of Chattanooga Mocs men's basketball. It includes historical moments, social media interactions and introduction to UTC's freshmen among the myriad of video tributes and stories.

Day Eight takes a look inside UTC's first NCAA Tournament win with video linked with thoughts from the "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds. The 58-51 triumph over North Carolina State in the 1982 Mideast Regional was not as close as the score would indicate.

The Mocs took control of the game from the outset scoring the game's first five points. In fact, UTC never trailed and the score was tied for just 12 seconds at 0-0 before Russ Schoene got the Mocs on the board.

Chattanooga took its first double-digit lead on two Stanford Strickland free throws with 5:26 left before intermission, 19-9. Willie White's jumper at 1:54 was the last tally of the half and sent the Mocs into the locker room with a 14-point cushion, 27-13.

The lead went to 16, then back to 11. It swelled to 20 after a 10-1 run put UTC up 40-20 with 8:52 remaining on a Strickland layup. It was a 20-point margin, 44-24 after Joe Johnson's layup at 7:16, but that's when the Wolfpack tried to make a move.

N.C. State legends Thurl Bailey, Lorenzo Charles, Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg combined to spark a run. Lowe's layup with 3:40 to play cut it to 10, 48-38 as free throw shooting began to plague the Mocs.

In the final seven minutes of the game, UTC missed seven free throws, including several front ends of one-and-ones to open the door for N.C. State to make it respectable. The Wolfpack closed to within six, on two Lowe free throws, but the Mocs would not fold.

White and Russ Schoene hit free throws in the final minute to hold off the 'Pack. Lowe hit a jumper in the final second to cut the final margin to seven in an otherwise dominating performance for the Mocs.

The story gets a little more special when you consider what N.C. State did the following year with basically the same cast. Charles and Whittenburg and Bailey and Lowe sparked the most memorable Cinderella run in the history of the "Big Dance" winning the 1983 National Championship. In his post-game comments, Jim Valvano proved prophetic.

"I was asked how our kids could be tight after going through the ACC Tournament, but the NCAA is a little different...this is an awful special thing," he stated. "You can write we played poorly or were coached poorly, but we didn't quit. I don't want to take anything away from Chattanooga. I told the kids to hang in there and make them win it at the foul line. N.C. State will be back in the NCAA Tournament next year."

Nick Morken and Schoene led the Mocs with 15 points apiece. White added 12 as the trio combined for 42 of the 61 points and 18 of the 29 rebounds led by Schoene's seven.

Lowe led all scorers with 21, 15 in the second half. Bailey chipped in 10 points and a game-high 11 boards.

UTC would go on to face Minnesota and future NBA starter Trent Tucker in the second round. The Mocs again led at the break, 36-34, and gave the Golden Gophers all they wanted throughout the contest leading by as many as eight in the second half.

Randy Breuer, another future NBA starter, sparked Minnesota's comeback and put the Gophers ahead 62-61 with just 55 seconds remaining. The score remained at that one-point margin down to the four-second mark with UTC calling timeout with the ball.

White drove and dished to Schoene in the short corner. Alas, his shot was just off the mark and Minnesota escaped with the 62-61 win thwarting Chattanooga's first attempt at reaching the Sweet 16.

Despite the deflating end, the 26-4 campaign was the best to date and put the Mocs on the map as one of the top mid-major programs in the country.

Chattanooga opens the season Monday, November 12, against Tennessee Temple in McKenzie Arena at 7 p.m. Season tickets for a school-record 18-game home slate are available. Call 266-MOCS (6627), go online here at or stop by the Gate One McKenzie Arena Ticket Office. is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs.  The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page (ChattanoogaMocs), or on Twitter (@GoMocsMBB & @GoMocs).

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1 - First NCAA DI Game
2 - Walter "Moose" McGary
3 - Stephen McDowell
4 - 1980 Recruiting Class
5 - Gerald Wilkins 4-point Play
6 - Social Media Factoid: UTC's 10 NCAA appearances are the most in the SoCon since joining the league in 1977-78. Leaders: Chattanooga 10, Davidson 7, ETSU 6, Marshall 3, App State 2, Furman 2, Wofford 2, Western Carolina 1, UNCG 1 and College of Charleston 1. Sources: &
7 - LeVert Threats to Keith Nelson Buzzer-Beater
8 - 1st NCAA Tourney Win
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