CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (8-11/3-3) lost to Western Carolina (8-11/5-2) Saturday night, 90-81, in Southern Conference North Division play. UTC wasted a 21-point, six-rebound effort by Z. Mason (Chattanooga, Tenn.).
Trey Sumler and Tom Tankelewicz led a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Catamounts. Sumler led all scorers with 25 points to go with 12 assists, four rebounds and four steals. Tankelewicz scored his 21 points from beyond the arc making seven of nine for the evening.
Western scored 48 points in the opening half and built on that momentum to open the second. After a Farad Cobb (West Palm Beach, Fla.) trey got the Mocs with six, 48-42, WCU went on a 14-4 run. Brandon Boggs' dunk at 16:16 put his squad up 16, 62-46.
Chattanooga chipped away at the lead. It got within nine twice when Mason nailed a trey from up top to cut it to six, 68-62, at 8:51. Two Drazen Zlovaric (Novi Sad, Serbia) free throws nearly two minutes later made it a four-point deficit, 70-66 with 7:10 to play.
Sumler answered with a three-ball on the Catamounts next possession. A defensive stop and two free throws from Tawaski King extended the margin back to nine, 75-66, with six minutes to go.
Like Thursday night's 19-point comeback, the Mocs never quit. Unlike the last game, the big shot just didn't fall. The squad hit just one shot in the final 8:51, a three-point by Dontay Hampton (Chattanooga, Tenn.). UTC did make 16 of 19 (84.2%) from the free throw during that stretch.
Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.) tied his season high with 19 points, while chipping in four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He and Mason were the lone Mocs in double digits as Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) had nine points and a team-high five assists.
Boggs and King had 19 and 18 points, respectively. They combined with Sumler and Tankelewicz for all but seven of Western's 90 points. As a team, they shot a blistering 53.4 percent (31-58) including 12 of 22 (54.5%) from beyond the arc. WCU also shot well from the free throw making 84.2 percent (16-19) hitting all eight attempts in the last three-plus minutes of the contest.
Tankelewicz got the Catamounts off to a great start. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half hitting five of seven from three-point range. Western hit eight treys in the first 20 minutes and would have salted it away early if not for two factors: Mason and the Mocs rebounding.
Mason had 10 points and five rebounds in the opening frame. Those five boards led a 24-13 effort on the glass. UTC had more offensive rebounds (11) than the Catamounts had defensive (10). The home team ended up with a 41-33 advantage on the boards led by Zlovaric with seven.
It's back to the highways and byways for the Chattanooga Mocs. The next three games are all away from home starting with a trip to North Carolina. The Mocs visit to Elon on Thursday at 7 p.m., before tackling UNCG on Sunday at 2 p.m.
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