Mocs to Honor Seniors in Final Home Game Wednesday against Wofford
5th year senior Jeff Smith is a Chattanooga native.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com

WHOJeff Smith. The fifth-year senior completed his bachelor's degree in Business Management in December 2009.  He is finishing up degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship this Spring.

WHAT:  Wofford (16-12/12-4) at Chattanooga (15-14/11-5)

WHEN:  Wednesday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m. (EST).

WHERE:  McKenzie Arena (10,928) - Chattanooga, Tenn.  Live video, audio and stats can be found on GoMocs.com via MocsVision, while the game broadcast can also be listened to on ESPN 105.1 FM in Chattanooga.

HOW:  Chattanooga has wrapped up one of the North Division's two byes in the SoCon Tournament (Mar. 4-7).  No team has won the tournament in a 12-team format playing all four days.  The Mocs and Western Carolina have two games to decide the North Division title.  It would be the eighth such championship for UTC and 28th overall (10 regular season/10 tournament).  A tie in the standings would result in WCU receiving the No. 1 seed in the tournament based on tiebreakers (WCU swept App State, Mocs split).  College of Charleston has clinched the No. 1 seed in the South.  The winner of Wofford at Furman this Saturday will clinch the final bye from the South.

QUOTABLE:  " After the Georgia Tech game, we went back to work defensively on the way I wanted them to play defensively. I am sick of tired of being on our heels defensively and reacting to the other team. Getting those guys to buy in to playing defense in a short amount of time was not easy. Now, we are not where we need to be, but it was much better." - Head Coach John Shulman.

PROBABLE STARTERS (PPG, RPG unless otherwise noted):  1 - Keegan Bell (8.6 ppg, 6.0 apg), 2 - Ricky Taylor (13.2, 3.7), 3 - Omar Wattad (14.9, 3.8), 4 - Chris Early (9.0, 6.3), 5 - DeAntre Jefferson (8.7, 6.6).

NOTES:

  • The Wofford game is Senior Night as well as the UT System's TRIBUTE Night. The four seniors (Troy Cage, DeAntre Jefferson, Jeremy Saffore & Jeff Smith) will be honored prior to the game with their families. TRIBUTE is an event hosted by the new system president, Dr. Joe DiPietro, with all faculty and staff receiving two free tickets to the game along with a pre-game reception hosted in the dance studio by Dr. DiPietro and Chattanooga Chancellor Dr. Roger Brown.
  • Chattanooga is 11-5 in league play, 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road. Chattanooga is 7-2 against North Division opponents, 4-3 vs. the South. College of Charleston (9-0) and Western Carolina (7-0) are the only other teams with unblemished league records on their home floors.
  • The Mocs close the regular season with three games in six days. It started with the 75-59 win over Furman on Monday and continues Wednesday with Wofford. The regular season ends Saturday at Samford (5 p.m. EST).
  • This is the 26th meeting between the two schools with Chattanooga leading 15-10. For more series notes, see page seven.
  • The Mocs are 11-1 in games where the score is within five points (leading or trailing) with five minutes left in the contest with wins over Kennesaw State (-1), Marshall (-2), Western Carolina (tied), at Elon (+3), at UNCG (+1), at The Citadel (+1), Samford (+3), College of Charleston (+2), home against UNCG (-3), home vs. Elon (+4) and Georgia Southern (+4). The lone loss was at home to Austin Peay (-4). UTC is 12-0 when leading with five to play regardless of the score differential.
  • Chattanooga seems to prefer playing close games. The Mocs are 3-1 (.750) in one-point games and 5-2 (.714) in games decided by three points or less. UTC is 11-5 (.688) when the final margin is nine points or less.
  • The Mocs lead the SoCon in two categories - Rebounding (39.0 rpg) and Defensive Rebounds Pct (74.4%). In league games only, UTC averages league-bests in Rebounding (38.9/gm), Rebound Margin (+5.5) and Defensive Rebounds Pct. (75.8%), while tying for first in 3pt made per game (8.8) with Elon. Individually, senior post DeAntre Jefferson (Bloomington, Ill.) leads in field goal percentage (66.7%).
  • Chattanooga is 640-389 (.622) since moving to Division I (1977-78), 405-100 (.802) at home, 344-89 (.795) in McKenzie Arena.
  • LAST TIMES...The Mocs started 15-14 was 2008-09...16-14? 2001-02. 15-15 2008-09...Chattanooga began SoCon play 11-5 was 2002-03. 12-5? Never. 11-6? 2007-08.
  • Chattanooga is 12-2 when holding opponents under 70 points, 3-12 otherwise.
  • The Mocs have won three games this season when trailing at the half. The biggest first half comebacks are from 12 points behind College of Charleston and 10 down at Marshall and at Elon. Chattanooga has come back from second half deficits of seven at Kennesaw State, eight at Marshall, five at home against Appalachian State and five at Elon. UTC is 12-1 when leading at the half.
  • Wofford is 16-12, 12-4 in the SoCon South. The Terriers are the defending SoCon Champs. Noah Dahlman leads the way averaging 20.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Cameron Rundles (13.4 ppg) and Jamar Diggs (12.4 ppg) also average in double digits. Tim Johnson is the league leader in rebounding (8.7/gm).
  • The Mocs have won the battle of the boards in 18 of the last 23 games. That's after starting the season turning the trick just once in the first six.
  • Statistical comparison between conference and non-conference games:
 

Record

PPG

Margin

RPG

Margin

FG%

Def

3pt%

Def.

SoCon

11-5

73.1

-0.9

38.9

+5.5

43.5

43.6

36.1

34.6

Non-Conf.

4-9

70.5

-3.8

39.1

+1.4

40.5

43.2

29.1

32.3

  • Averages by month:

Month

Record

PPG

Margin

RPG

Margin

FG%

Def

3pt%

Def.

November

2-5

67.1

-13.1

35.9

-3.6

39.2

45.9

30.3

34.7

December

5-2

79.4

+14.8

45.3

+10.7

45.6

37.1

32.6

28.1

January

6-3

73.7

-7.3

39.2

+5.1

40.7

46.3

34.9

37.7

February

2-4

66.3

-1.5

34.8

+1.6

43.6

43.5

32.4

32.4

PLAYER NOTES

Keegan Bell (Hazel Green, Ala.)

  • 2nd in SoCon in assists per game (5.9) and in assist/turnover ratio (2.3). Those averages are 6.1 apg and 2.9 A/TO in league games only. He is 11th in 3pt made per game (1.8).
  • 16th nationally in assists and 33rd in A/TO ratio (thru 2/20).
  • 3rd on the team in free throw pct (74.0). Team leader in steals with 23 and minutes played (34.0/gm).
  • Scored 500th career point Monday vs. Furman. Now has 505 in UTC career.
  • 20 assists shy of 350 with 330 which is 5th all-time (DI era) at UTC. Maurice Head (1984-87) is 4th with 340, while Casey Long (2004-07) is 3rd with 386. The record is 414 held by the duo of Tim Brooks (1992-93) and Wes Moore (1996-99).
  • Has already surpassed his assist total from last season (159). His 171 this year is the 5th best total in the DI era. He trails Tyrone Enoch's 174 in 1990-91 and Ray Trowell's (2003-04) 180 in 2002-03. Brooks' 209 in 1992-93 is the school record.
  • Made 100th career trey vs. Furman. 16th Moc to reach that total.
  • Recorded five or more assists in 18 games (36 career).
  • 14 minutes shy of 1000 for season. Would become the 22nd DI player to record that total at UTC, and first since the trio of Stephen McDowell (1,177), Khalil Hartwell (1,029) and Nicchaeus Doaks (1,021) did so in 2008-09.

Chris Early (Huntington, W. Va.)

  • Second on the squad with 177 rebounds, 6.3 per game. 6th in the league on the boards.
  • 3rd on the team in scoring averaging 9.5 ppg.
  • Home averages: 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game shooting 53.7% FG, 40.9% 3pt and 73.8% FT. Has scored in double digits in 11 of 14 home games. He has 14 total double figure scoring games this season.
  • 2 20-pt efforts including a career-high 23 points in Monday's win over Furman.

DeAntre Jefferson (Bloomington, Ill.)

  • Leads Mocs in reb with 187, 6.6/gm. Four double-digit games on the boards.
  • 2nd in SoCon rebounding.
  • Shooting 69.9% (65-93) from the field since the start of December.
  • Last 4 games: 94 minutes played, 43 points (10.8/gm) and 30 rebounds (7.5/gm) shooting 75.0 percent (18-24) from the floor.

Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.)

  • 14th in SoCon scoring averaging 13.1 ppg. Started all 29 games.
  • Leads team in FTM (89).
  • Mocs' active career scoring leader with 801 points.
  • Topped 100-mark in 3-pointers made in the loss at App State and 800 points in win over Furman.
  • Scored in double digits 20 times (tying Wattad for team lead), 43 in his career.
  • Scored 20 or more three times this year, nine times in his career, including career-best 41 points in double overtime win over UNC Greensboro (1/27).
  • Averaging 15.3 points per game over last 18 raising average from 9.5 to 13.1 ppg.
  • SoCon games only averages of 14.4 points and 4.4 boards per game.
  • Averages 16.4 ppg at home shooting 49.0% FG, 41.0% 3pt & 77.1% FT. Has scored in double digits in 13 of 14 home games (9 vs. Murray State, 12/11).

Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.)

  • Leads team in scoring at 14.8 ppg. That ranks 9th in the SoCon. Is 2nd in the conference in 3pt made per game (2.9) and 14th in the league in FT% (77.8).
  • 14th nationally in treys made per game and 58th in 3pt pct. (37.8%) - thru 2/20.
  • In SoCon games only, averages 16.1 pts and 3.8 reb per contest while shooting 42.2 percent (54-128) from 3pt range making 3.4 per game.
  • Scored in double digits a team-best tying 20 times including seven 20-pt games (one 30).
  • Made three or more threes 15 times this season.
  • Also leads team in FGM (134), 3ptM (85), 3pt% (37.8) and FT% (77.8).
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