Mocs Basketball Preview: Southern Conference Championship
Senior Omar Wattad leads the Mocs in scoring heading into the tournament.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com

2011-12 CHATTANOOGA MOCS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
CHATTANOOGA (11-20/5-13) | 2012 SOCON CHAMPIONSHIP
March 2-5, 2012 | U.S. Celluar Center (6,300) | Asheville, N.C.

LISTENING & VIEWING
Listen to "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds' call on ESPN 105.1 FM in Chattanooga, pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to game time. Live audio (free) is also available via MocsVision on GoMocs.com where you can find the live stats link as well. The quarterfinals will be broadcast on ESPN3.com as will the semifinals which will be additionally aired on the SoCon Sports Network. Monday's Championship tilt is slated for ESPN2.

TICKETS
Order by phone at (800) 745-3000.

ABOUT SOCON CHAMPIONSHIP

  • The SoCon Championship returns to Asheville, N.C. The tournament was competed in Asheville from 1984-1995. Chattanooga won four times in the 12 years in the then Asheville Civic Center, now U.S. Cellular Center. The four titles came in 1988, 1993, 1994 and 1995. It is also the site of the only Mocs tournament title without a regular season one (1988). That season Chattanooga entered the tournament after tying for fifth with an 8-8 record in the regular season and was the No. 5 seed.
  • The Mocs are 52-24 (.684) in the SoCon Tournament with 10 titles. UTC is 8-1 at home, 0-3 away and 44-20 on a neutral floor. In Asheville, Chattanooga is 21-8 (.724) with four championships. It has won nine straight games in Asheville.
  • UTC's 10 tournament crowns tie for the league record with West Virginia and Davidson.

ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN

  • It's the 48th matchup with Georgia Southern all-time with the Mocs leading 30-17...there have been five previous tourney meetings with UTC capturing all five.
  • Eagles Head Coach Charlton Young was associate head coach on Shulman's first staff (2004-05)...helped lead the Mocs to their 9th NCAA Tournament appearance...Shulman leads the head-to-head matchup 3-2, 1-0 in the tournament.
  • Georgia Southern tied for second in the SoCon South with Wofford at 12-6...Wofford owned the tiebreaker for the bye...the Eagles are 14-14 overall.
  • The Eagles are SoCon leaders in field goal percentage (46.7).
  • Four players average in double figures led by Eric Ferguson with team highs in points (14.8 ppg) and rebounds (7.1 rpg)...Ben Drayton (12.0), Willie Powers (11.1) and Jelani Hewitt (10.7) help lead the way.
  • GSU won both meetings this season...in the first, Georgia Southern led by as many as 16 before the Mocs rallied late before losing by eight...Ricky Taylor (10) and Lance Stokes (8) combined for 18 points in the final four minutes of the game...in game two, UTC led by as many as 16 (60-44) with 10:29 to play in the 2nd half before the Eagles closed the game with a 31-12 run to win 75-72 on a Jelani Hewitt three-pointer at the buzzer...Drazen Zlovaric had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

LAST MEETING
01/28/12 7:30 p.m. at Chattanooga, Tenn. (The McKenzie Arena)
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 75, CHATTANOOGA 72
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-12, 7-4 SoCon)
DRAYTON, Ben 5-11 4-7 16; HEWITT, Jelani 5-12 2-2 16; FERGUSON, Eric 6-10 2-2 15; POWERS, Willie 4-11 2-2 11; BUSSEY, Tré 3-8 0-0 7; BAYNHAM, Marvin 3-4 0-0 6; BROWN, Tyrone 0-0 2-2 2; BASKERVILLE, Cameron 0-2 2-2 2; DUNNICAN, Kameron 0-0 0-0 0; WADDELL, Chad 0-0 0-0 0; PERNELL, Jessie 0-2 0-1 0. Totals 26-60 14-18 75.
CHATTANOOGA (9-14, 3-7 SoCon)
BELL, Keegan 6-10 0-0 16; ZLOVARIC, Drazen 8-12 0-1 16; TAYLOR, Ricky 4-11 1-2 9; HAMPTON, Dontay 2-7 3-3 7; WHITE, Ronrico 2-4 0-0 6; WATTAD, Omar 1-8 2-2 5; BRYANT, Jared 2-3 1-2 5; STOKES, Lance 0-2 4-4 4; BAKER, Drew 2-2 0-1 4. Totals 27-59 11-15 72.
Georgia Southern 26-49 75
Chattanooga 36-36 72
3-point goals--Georgia Southern 9-24 (HEWITT, Jelani 4-8; DRAYTON, Ben 2-7; BUSSEY, Tré 1-2; POWERS, Willie 1-4; FERGUSON, Eric 1-2; PERNELL, Jessie 0-1), Chattanooga 7-22 (BELL, Keegan 4-8; WHITE, Ronrico 2-4; WATTAD, Omar 1-5; HAMPTON, Dontay 0-3; TAYLOR, Ricky 0-2). Fouled out--Georgia Southern-None, Chattanooga-None. Rebounds--Georgia Southern 32 (FERGUSON, Eric 7), Chattanooga 40 (WATTAD, Omar 10; ZLOVARIC, Drazen 10). Assists--Georgia Southern 14 (POWERS, Willie 7), Chattanooga 17 (BELL, Keegan 5; WATTAD, Omar 5). Total fouls--Georgia Southern 18, Chattanooga 22. Technical fouls--Georgia Southern-None, Chattanooga-None. A-4170

OPENING TIPS

  • The Mocs lead the SoCon in assists (14.5) and FG% defense (40.6). Senior captain Keegan Bell (Huntsville, Ala.) leads in assists (6.2) and assist/turnover ratio (2.2). For UTC team ranking and SoCon leaders see page seven. Individual ranks are in the player notes on page six.
  • The Mocs signed three in the early signing period: Farad Cobb (PG, 6-1, 165, West Palm Beach, Fla.), Gee McGhee (G, 6-4, 205, Baton Rouge, La.) and Joshu'a Warren (F, 6-7 225, Marietta, Ga.). Cobb was rated as a top 50 PG nationally by ESPN.com. McGhee is a combo guard who can play all three wing positions. Warren is a high-energy, athletic post player.

TRENDING

  • Bell's 9 assists against Samford moved him into 10th place in SoCon history over WCU's Kevin Young who had 530 playing from 1979-82. Bell has 534 in his third year at UTC. He is 8 behind Chris Alpert (1993-96) of Davidson.
  • Bell's scored all of his season-high 21 points in keying the second half comeback win over Samford to end regular season. His 9 assists in the game are the most since tallying 12 in the home win over Western Carolina (1/5).
  • Dontay Hampton is 6th in the SoCon in free throw shooting at 81.4 percent (70-86).
  • Since returning from injury 6 games ago, Jahmal Burroughs has grabbed 47 rebounds (7.8/gm). He posted career highs with 19 points and 3 steals against Samford.
  • Burroughs' 8-8 performance from the field ties for the 4th-best in UTC's DI history.
  • Z. Mason is shaking off the rust of being out 7 games with a knee injury. He has 18 boards (9.0 rpg) in his 2 games since returning at Furman.
  • This year's FG% Defense (40.6) is 2nd in school history to 2004-05's 40.3 mark.

PLAYER NOTES
Keegan Bell (Huntsville, Ala.)

  • Leads the SoCon in assists at 6.2 per game, 13th nationally, and assist/turnover ratio (2.2), 51st in the country.
  • Made the 2012 Bob Cousy Award Watch List for second straight year...MVP of Dr Pepper Classic.
  • Mocs career assist leader with 534...passed Tim Brooks (1992-93) and Wes Moore (1996-99) on a feed to Ronrico White with 8:12 left in the game at Kentucky...his 193 assists this season is 3rd-best...he also holds the 4th (182, 2010-11) and 7th (159 - 2009-10) best season marks in school history...Brooks holds top two season totals at UTC with 209 (1992-93) and 205 (1991-92)...Bell is 10th in SoCon History in assists, nine from becoming 9th (542, Chris Alpert, Davidson, 1993-96).
  • Got his 600th collegiate assist at home against Elon on a White jumper at 14:28 in first half...includes the 95 he tallied as a freshman (2007-08) at Vanderbilt for 629 combined to date.
  • Tied for 6th all-time in 3pt FG Made with 160, seven behind Moore for 5th (167).
  • 2nd in career 3pt FG Attempted with 545 behind Stephen McDowell (2008-09) in first with 611.
  • Nine career 20-point games...34 games with double digit scoring numbers...has led the team in scoring four times this season, 12 in his career...made four or more threes 18 times in two-plus seasons.
  • 61 career five-plus assist games including 24 this season...10 or more assists nine times, four in 2011-12.
  • Had 16 points and 5 assists in the last meeting with Georgia Southern making 6-10 FG including 4-8 3pt.

Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.)

  • Graduated with a degree in accounting on December 17, 2011...then immediately drove to Lexington, Ky., as the Mocs took on Kentucky that evening where he had a career-best five assists.
  • Scored 1,000th career point in win over Longwood on a 3pt bucket...18th UTC student-athlete in the DI era (1977-78) to accomplish it...currently sixth in scoring (1,219).
  • SoCon Ranks: 17th in scoring (12.4), 8th in 3pt% (39.3) and 10th in FT% (78.4).
  • 10th at UTC in FGM with 406, four behind Derrick Kirce (1990-91) with 410...3rd in FGA with 992, 187 away from Gerald Wilkins (1983-85) in 2nd with 1179.
  • 9th all-time in 3pt FG Made at 157, two short of Brandon Born (1991-95)...7th in 3pt FGA (447) behind Wes Moore (1996-99) with 455.
  • Led the Mocs in each of the last two seasons in free throws made (151 total) and leads this year with 91...13th with 250 in his career...Derrick Kirce (1990-91) is 12th with 251.
  • Career FT% (75.5) is fifth among those who have shot 300 or more.
  • 68 double-digit scoring nights in career, 22 in 2011-12...led team in scoring 10 times this season, 27 in career.
  • 11 career 20-pt games...season-high 24 points in last Thursday's win over Elon.
  • Had 16 points and three assists in the first meeting this year at Georgia Southern.

Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.)

  • 2nd in the SoCon in 3pt FG made per game (2.8) ranking 26th nationally...56th in the country in 3pt% (36.2).
  • Other SoCon ranks: 16th in scoring (12.4 ppg).
  • Made 100th trey against Warren Wilson...4th in career treys made with 168...Tim Parker (2000-03) is 3rd with 174.
  • Scored his 700th career point at Elon...now stands at 815 (891 including Georgetown stats).
  • 25 points at Elon topped his 24 points in season opener at IU...four 20-point efforts in 2011-12, 11 career...39 career double-digit scoring games, 18 in 2011-12.
  • Career-high 10 rebounds in last meeting with the Eagles.

Drazen Zlovaric (Novi Sad, Serbia)

  • SoCon Ranks: 6th in rebounding (6.5), 6th in defensive boards (4.8) and 5th in FG% (55.0).
  • Game-high 10 boards in 1st collegiate action in more than a year at Indiana.
  • 19 double-figure scoring nights...7 or more rebounds in 17 of 31 games...six double-digit rebounding games with four double-doubles including 16 pts/10 reb against the Eagles on Jan. 28.
  • 13.0 ppg shooting 61.9% (13-21) vs. GSU.

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