ATLANTA, Ga. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team fell short, 62-53, in its bid to knock off Georgia Tech Wednesday night in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Chattanooga is now 14-14 overall and 10-5 leading the Southern Conference North Division.
It was a sloppy effort for the Mocs with 20 turnovers. The Yellow Jackets scored 24 points off those 20 miscues and scored 11 more points at the free throw stripe making 17 of 27 compared to UTC's six of 11.
Glen Rice, Jr., led all scorers with 27 for Tech, while posting seven rebounds and four steals. Iman Shumpert had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The duo accounted for 46 of the Jackets' 62 points and 18 of their 34 rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets opened the second half with a three-pointer by Maurice Miller at 18:53 to go up eight, 31-23. Chattanooga closed to within three, 32-29, on a Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.) layup at the 15-minute mark.
Georgia Tech got the lead back to eight, 37-29, on three free throws and a layup, but the Mocs were pesky. They scored eight of the next 10 points to get within two, 39-37, on a Jefferson layup at 9:54.
Chattanooga had the ball with a chance to tie, but a turnover in the lane led to a Rice three-pointer giving Tech breathing room as it built its lead back to seven points on a Shumpert layup one possession later making it 44-37 at 8:30.
Taylor's three-pointer at 6:32 brought the Mocs to within four points at 48-44. But that's as close as UTC would get down the stretch.
Taylor had 13 points on an off shooting night. He scored 11 of his 13 in the second half. The trio of Wattad, Jefferson and Taylor scored 45 of Chattanooga's 53 points.
The Mocs shot just 37.5 percent for the game, making 21 of 56 shot attempts. That included a five for 27 performance from behind the three-point line, 18.5 percent.
Chattanooga got off to a tough start missing its first 11 three-pointers of the game. Tech ran out to a 19-8 lead with 7:30 left in the half as UTC went scoreless for more than seven minutes.
But the Mocs started to find their range. They out-scored the Jackets 15-7 over the final six minutes to close to within three, 26-23, behind Wattad's 12 first-half points. Shumpert hit a circus shot falling backwards in the lane at the buzzer to give Tech a 28-23 halftime lead.
UTC returns to the friendly confines of McKenzie Arena for a key two-game Southern Conference stretch hosting Furman and Wofford. The Paladins are up first on Monday, February 21, at 7 p.m., followed by the Terriers on Wednesday, February 25. Fans can access live audio and stats via Chattanooga All-Access on GoMocs.com. The game will also broadcast on the Mocs Sports Network on ESPN 105.1 FM in the Chattanooga area with the "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds.
Chattanooga is leading the SoCon North Division at 10-5 by a half-game over Western Carolina (9-5). The Monday game with Furman has a special promotion as "Blackout" conditions will be in effect. Check GoMocs.com tomorrow for all the information behind this special event to help propel the Mocs to their 18th regular-season title.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.