College of Charleston (17-7, 9-3) at Chattanooga (9-14, 6-4)
Saturday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
McKenzie Arena (10,928) . Chattanooga, Tenn.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: College of Charleston leads 17-11
Probable College of Charleston Starters
F-Anthony Thomas, 6-7, 207, JR (8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, .438 FG%)
F-Willis Hall, 6-6, 235, JR (7.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .523 FG%)
C-Adjehi Baru, 6-9, 225, SO (10.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.25 bpg)
G-Andrew Lawrence, 6-1, 185, JR (13.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.1 apg)
G-Anthony Stitt, 6-1, 180, SO (10.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, .394 3P%)
Key reserves: Nori Johnson (6-5, 209, JR); Trent Wiedeman (6-8, 255, JR); Theo Johnson (6-6, 195, SR).
Probable Chattanooga Starters
F-Lance Stokes, 6-6, 217, SO (3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.2 spg)
F-Z. Mason, 6-5, 238, JR (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
C-Drazen Zlovaric, 6-9, 220, SR (8.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .506 FG%)
G-Ronrico White, 6-3, 170, SO (10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg)
G-Gee McGhee, 6-5, 200, FR (11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg)
Key reserves: Martynas Bareika (6-4, 208, SO); Jared Bryant (6-7, 240, SO); Farad Cobb (6-0, 160, FR); Sam Watson (6-7, 245, JR).
The opening tip
The Mocs picked up their first win in three weeks with Thursday’s victory over The Citadel, snapping a four-game losing steak while securing a regular-season sweep over the Bulldogs. Five UTC players scored in double-figures for the first time since Dec. 2011 in the team’s 13-point victory, while Chattanooga committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Freshman Gee McGhee, whose averaged 17.4 points in the last five games, scored a career-high 22 on Thursday, while senior Drazen Zlovaric finished with 18 – the 6-9 center’s most against a Division I opponent this season. Sophomore Ronrico White (19), junior Z. Mason (14) and sophomore Martynas Bareika (12) also scored in double-figures for the Mocs.
Now UTC has to turn right around to face College of Charleston, and the team remembers quite clearly what happened the last time to two squads squared off.
The Cougars, second in the Southern Conference South Division, handed the Mocs their most lopsided loss of the season last month at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C, jumping out to a 20-2 advantage in the first eight minutes of its 86-59 win over Chattanooga.
CofC, which has won seven of nine since the lopsided victory, has three players averaging in double-figures with junior Andrew Lawrence (13.7 ppg), sophomore Anthony Stitt (10.8) and sophomore Adjehi Baru (10.2).
Baru is also the SoCon’s top rebounder (8.5 rpg), and the 6-9 center from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots in the teams’ first meeting, as well as provide this play.
UTC head coach John Shulman on using team’s new “down by 10” approach: “I’m scared that we won’t have to make that up; I’m scared that’s going to be up on the clock against Charleston. Charleston absolutely annihilated us and pounded us last time. We understand how good they are.”
This weekend is Legends Weekend at Chattanooga as former Mocs and Lady Mocs return to the Roundhouse to be honored during the Saturday’s doubleheader. The UTC women take on Elon at 5 p.m., followed by the men’s matchup with College of Charleston. … The Cougars lead the SoCon in defensive rebounding (31.6 rpg), rebounding margin (+5.6), blocked shots (4.7 bpg), and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.290 percent). They’re No. 2 in the league in scoring defense (61.3 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.405). … Head coach Doug Wojcik is 17-7 in his first season at College of Charleston. He compiled a 140-92 record in his seven seasons in charge at Tulsa, but was fired after last season due to flagging attendance. He’ll be squaring off against the Mocs for just the second time in his career Saturday.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.