Mocs Open SoCon Tournament Play Saturday Against Furman at 7 p.m.

WHO: Chris Early.  Early helped key the Mocs 2009 SoCon Championship with his play off the bench in the finals against College of Charleston as a freshman.  This season, he has started 28 of 30 appearances and is second on the squad with 190 rebounds, 6.3 per game, ranking 4th in the league.  He is 3rd on the team in scoring (9.6 ppg) and averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 70.6 percent from the free throw line in SoCon games.  In McKenzie Arena, Early averages 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest while making 53.4 percent (63-118) from the floor including 41.2 percent (21-51) from 3pt range and 73.8 percent (45-61) from the line.

WHAT: Southern Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - No. 3 South Furman (21-9/12-6) vs. No. 2 North Chattanooga (16-15/12-6)

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. (EST). 500 FREE student tickets for men’s game on Saturday, March 5 at 7:00 PM.  The tickets are courtesy of Frank Kinser, Owner of East Brainerd Lumber, the UTC Student Government Association, and the Chancellor’s Office.  To receive a FREE ticket, you must show your valid student ID at the Gate 1 ticket office starting at 5:00 PM on Saturday.

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: The Mocs are in search of an unprecedented 11th SoCon Tournament Championship.  UTC currently shares the league record of 10 with Davidson and West Virginia.  WVU spent just 18 years in the league from 1950-68, while the Mocs are in their 34th season.  Davidson is in its 62nd year in the conference (1936-88, 1991-present).

QUOTABLE: "Once you've won it...once you've gotten a taste of that championship and going to the big dance, it's all you think about.  You hunger for it.  What we play all year for is this opportunity." - Head Coach John Shulman.

PROBABLE STARTERS (PPG, RPG unless otherwise noted): 1 - Keegan Bell (9.4 ppg, 5.8 apg), 2 - Ricky Taylor (13.0, 3.6), 3 - Omar Wattad (14.3, 3.6), 4 - Chris Early (9.6, 6.3), 5 - Jeremy Saffore (3.5, 3.4).

SINCE 1977-78 (CO-CHAMPIONSHIPS INCLUDED)

Team

Regular Season

Division

Tournament

Total

CHATTANOOGA

10

8

10

28

Davidson

1

10

6

17

East Tennessee St.

3

4

5

12

Appalachian State

3

7

2

12

Marshall

3

2

3

8

Coll. of Charleston

0

7

1

8

Furman

2

0

2

4

Western Carolina

0

3

1

4

Georgia Southern

0

3

0

3

Wofford

0

2

1

3

UNC Greensboro

0

1

1

2

Elon

0

1

0

1

The Citadel

0

0

0

0

Samford

0

0

0

0


NOTES

  • Chattanooga was 12-6 in league play, 8-1 at home and 4-5 on the road, with an 8-2 record against North Division opponents, 4-4 vs. the South.
  • The Mocs won their 28th SoCon Championship in 34 seasons in the league sharing the North Division title with Western Carolina. It's the 18th regular season crown with eight coming in division play. UTC has won a conference record-tying 10 tournament titles. The 28 championships easily leads the SoCon in the 34 years of the Mocs' membership. Davidson is second with 17 (11 reg. season with 10 division & 6 tourneys).
  • Chattanooga is 7-1 (.875) against its half of the bracket this season. The Mocs are 1-0 vs. College of Charleston, 1-0 vs. The Citadel, 2-0 vs. Elon, 1-1 vs. Furman and 2-0 vs. Samford.
  • The Mocs are 12-1 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) along with the road win at Samford (tie/OT). The lone loss was at home to Austin Peay (-4). UTC is 13-0 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 12-5 (.706) when the final margin is nine points or less.
  • The Mocs started 12 different players last season in 12 different combinations. This season, 10 players have started including Jeff Smith's senior day nod. There have been seven different lineups with Saturday's probable lineup Keegan Bell, Ricky Taylor, Omar Wattad, Chris Early and Jeremy Saffore starting 22 of the 31 contests (13-9).
  • Chattanooga is 12-2 when holding opponents under 70 points, 4-12 otherwise.
  • The Mocs have won four 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, five at Elon and six at Samford. UTC is 12-1 when leading at the half.
  • Chattanooga leads the Southern Conference in rebounding (38.7/gm) and Defensive Rebound Pct (74.3%). In league games only, UTC is first rebounding (38.4/gm), Defensive Rebound Pct (75.4%) and three-pointers made per game (8.8).
  • The Mocs have won the battle of the boards in 19 of the last 25 games. That's after starting the season turning the trick just once in the first six.
  • Chattanooga has made 10 or more treys 13 times this season (12-1). Nine of the 13 have come at the McKenzie Arena where UTC shoots 36.4 percent (144-396) from beyond the arc making 9.6 per game. Opponents have hit 10 or more 15 times (6-9).
  • Chattanooga has played in several back-and-forth games.

Date

Opponent

Lead Changes

Ties

11/15

Austin Peay

12

7

11/17

@Kennesaw State

3

8

11/20

@Marshall

8

5

12/2

App State

9

4

12/4

Western Carolina

9

4

12/17

@Elon

11

3

1/13

@The Citadel

9

7

1/27

UNC Greensboro

15

16

2/12

@Appalachian State

13

10

2/26

@Samford

14

12

PLAYER NOTES

Keegan Bell (Hazel Green, Ala.)

  • 2nd in SoCon in assists per game (5.8) and in assist/turnover ratio (2.4), while ranking sixth in three-pointers made per game (1.9). Those averages are 5.7 apg, 2.8 A/TO and 2.3 treys per contest in league games only.
  • 21st nationally in assists and 32nd in A/TO ratio (thru 2/27).
  • 3rd on the team in free throw pct (74.1). Team leader in steals with 26 and minutes played (34.4/gm). Played 36.7 minutes per game in SoCon outings.
  • Recorded five or more assists in 19 games (37 career).
  • 12 assists shy of 350 with 338 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 179 this year is the 4th best total in the DI era passing Tyrone Enoch (1990-91) at Samford. He is one behind 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.
  • 22nd DI player to record 1,000 minutes in a season at UTC with 1,067. 1st since the trio of Stephen McDowell (1,177), Khalil Hartwell (1,029) and Nicchaeus Doaks (1,021) did so in 2008-09. Gerald Wilkins (1983-85) holds the record with 1,188 minutes (37.1/gm) in the 1985 season.

DeAntre Jefferson (Bloomington, Ill.)

  • Leads Mocs in reb with 199, 6.4/gm. Four double-digit games on the boards.
  • Leads Mocs in FG pct. (65.2%) and is 2nd in the SoCon in rebounding.
  • Shooting 67.7% (67-99) from the field since the start of December.
  • Has started seven games, but his best efforts have come off the bench.

Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.)

  • 13th in SoCon scoring averaging 13.0 ppg.
  • Leads team in FTM (91).
  • Mocs' active career scoring leader with 824 points.
  • Topped 100-mark in career 3-pointers made (15th Mocs to do so) in the loss at App State and 800 points in home win over Furman.
  • Scored in double digits a team-best 21 times, 44 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 14.9 points per game over last 20 raising average from 9.5 to 13.0 ppg.
  • SoCon games only averages of 14.1 points and 4.3 boards per game. Making 40.3% from 3pt range in SoCon games compared to 34.9% overall.
  • Home game averages: 15.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest shooting 48.5% (79-163) from the floor, 40.6% (26-64) beyond the arc and 77.1% (54-70) from the charity stripe.

Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.)

  • Leads team in scoring at 14.3 ppg. That ranks 10th in the SoCon. Is 2nd in the conference in 3pt made per game (2.8) and 13th in the league in FT% (76.9).
  • 28th nationally in treys made per game and 65th in 3pt pct. (36.1%) - thru 2/27.
  • In SoCon games only, averages 15.1 pts and 3.6 reb per contest while shooting 39.0 percent (55-141) from 3pt range making 3.1 per game.
  • Scored in double digits 20 times including a team-high seven 20-pt games (one 30).
  • Made three or more threes 15 times this season. 
  • Also leads team in FGM (139), 3ptM (86), 3pt% (36.1) and FT% (76.9).
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