Kennesaw State (1-4) at Chattanooga (2-1)
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. ET
McKenzie Arena (10,928) • Chattanooga, Tenn.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Chattanooga leads 4-1
Probable Kennesaw State starters
G - Yonel Brown, 5-9, 160, SO (6.6 ppg, 2.8 apg, 1.4 rpg)
G - Orlando Coleman, 6-5, 195, SO (10.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F - Bernard Morena, 6-8, 200, FR (8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.6 apg)
F - Nigel Pruitt, 6-7, 180, SO (7.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.0 spg)
C - Willy Kouassi, 6-10, 230, SO (5.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 bpg)
Key reserves: Delbert Love (6-0, 185, JR); Tanner Wozniak (6-5, 185, JR); Andrew Osemhen (6-9, 270, SR); Myles Hamilton (6-1, 190, SO)
Probable Chattanooga starters
G - Greg Pryor, 6-1, 195, FR (12.0 ppg, 2.6 apg, 1.000 FT%)
G - Gee McGhee, 6-5, 205, FR (17.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.6 apg)
G - Casey Jones, 6-5, 200, SO (9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .611 FG%)
F - Z. Mason, 6-6, 235, SR (12.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.6 bpg)
F - Lance Stokes, 6-7, 225, JR (6.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.6 spg)
Key reserves: Eric Robertson (6-4, 200, SO); Alex Bran (6-1, 180, SO); Martynas Bareika (6-5, 215, JR); T.J. Williams (6-8, 240, FR)
The opening tip:
The Mocs dominated a non-Division I team for the second time in three games Saturday, streamrolling an outmanned Montreat squad 108-51 at McKenzie Arena.
Chattanooga’s final stats were impressive: 20 steals, 41 points off turnovers, 19 offensive boards, 10 made 3-pointers and five players finishing in double figures. But head coach Will Wade wasn’t overly pleased with his team’s performance in the lopsided victory, and the level of competition increases when Kennesaw State visits the Roundhouse on Tuesday night.
The Owls haven’t exactly come out of the gates strong, though. Like Chattanooga, their only win of 2013-14 came against a non-DI opponent (Warren Wilson), and they’ve suffered losses to Youngstown State, Eastern Kentucky, Florida International and Mississippi State.
KSU has been competitive this season — two of the team’s four losses have been by single digits — and it gave the Bulldogs a run for their money in last Saturday’s trip to Starkville, Miss. The Owls were within 10 with under 10 minutes to play, before being outscored 15-3 in the final 6:15.
Kennesaw possess plenty of length down low. The Owls’ frontcourt, comprised of sophomores Willy Kouassi and Nigel Pruitt, along with freshman Benard Morena, will provide a big challenge for the Mocs’ thin and undersized front line.
Keeping out of foul trouble will be key for Chattanooga’s Z. Mason and Lance Stokes, but they also can’t allow the Owls to push them around inside.
“We’ve got to get better with our post defense. Kennesaw State will watch the film of [Saturday’s] game, and they’ll try to exploit us. They start 6-7, 6-8, 6-10 in the frontcourt, and they’re gonna try to mash us. We’ve got to out-scrap them, come a bunch of junkyard dogs—for 40 minutes.”
— Chattanooga head coach Will Wade on facing the Owls
Tuesday’s contest marks the sixth game in a series that dates back to 1989, with Chattanooga holding a 4-1 lead. The two teams are meeting for the fourth season in a row with the road team winning each season. ... Chattanooga is 92-94 against current Atlantic Sun opponents. ... Saturday’s 108-51 win over Montreat marked the 90th time the Mocs have eclipsed the 100-point mark and the second time this season. ... Sophomore guard Gee McGhee set a career high with five steals against the Cavaliers, while adding 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting. ... Senior forward Z. Mason is coming off his first double-double of the season after notching 15 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday’s lopsided win. ... UTC will pay tribute to long-time NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Darrell Patterson at halftime. ... Tuesday’ contest is the final home game for the Mocs before the team heads west for the Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 22-29), where they’ll take on Nevada, UCLA, Morehead State and either IUPUI or Gardner-Webb.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.