CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--- The Chattanooga men's basketball team fell 54-78 to Samford Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena. The Bulldogs shot out to an early lead and never looked back.
Josh Davis led the way for Samford, scoring 30 and tying for game high honors with seven rebounds. Jeffrey Merritt had 13 and Trey Montgomery added 10 for the Bulldogs. Davis' 30 ties Elon's Drew Spradlin for most points scored against UTC this season.
The Bulldogs started the game seven-of-eight from the field, including four three pointers in the first 3:25. Samford shot 10-17 from behind the arc in the first half, and led by as many as 14, after a Davis three with 6:31 remaining in the first.
The Bulldogs finished the game at 61 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from behind the three-point line. The Mocs finished 18-61 from the field for 29.5 percent, making just 21.4 percent (6-28) in the second half.
Despite the hot shooting by the visitors, Chattanooga would not let the game get too far away in the first. After the Davis bucket at 6:31, UTC held the Bulldogs scoreless for the next 4:37 and allowed only three more points the remainder of the first.
The Mocs shot 8-20 from behind the arc and 36.4 percent overall in the first half, but went into the break trailing by only six after Ty Patterson hit a three with just seconds remaining. That shot capped an 11-3 run that made it 38-32 at the break.
Ricky Taylor made two free throws and a three-pointer for five of the Mocs' first six to begin the second half. They would close it to within two, 40-38, but Samford responded quickly.
Taylor's three was the only basket in a 1-12 shooting start to the second for the Mocs. A Jeffrey Merritt three-pointer jumpstarted a 14-0 Bulldog run that was capped by a Josh Davis dunk and a Chattanooga timeout with 12:57 to play and Samford leading 54-38.
Ty Patterson ended a five minute scoreless drought at the 11:18 mark. He added five more on a short 11-4 run that got the Mocs back within nine. The run was spurred by a couple of forced turnovers but once again, the Bulldogs had an answer making three straight layups to extend the lead back to 15 with 6:32 to play.
Those six points turned into a 20-4 run for the Bulldogs over the next 6:08 and put the game away.
Chattanooga committed a season low eight turnovers compared to 18 for Samford. The Bulldogs limited second chance opportunities however, with a 39-25 rebounding edge. Thirty-five of the 39 boards were on the defensive glass for the visitors.
The Mocs are in action Saturday night in the McKenzie Arena hosting Furman at 7:30 p.m. The game follows the Lady Mocs who tip off at 5 p.m., against Appalachian State. This year's Hall of Fame class will be introduced at halftime of the men's contest.
Catch all of the Mocs' action on ESPN Radio 105.1 FM with the Voice of the Mocs, Jim Reynolds, providing play-by-play in his 30th season behind the microphone. Live stats, live video (selected games) and audio are also available on GoMocs.com.GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/GoMocs.