CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2003) --After shooting 68 percent from the floor in the first half Saturday and owning a 57-43 lead at the break, Chattanooga withstood a furious rally from East Tennessee State and held on for a 99-94 Southern Conference victory. It was UTC's sixth straight victory over the Buccaneers.
The Mocs, who never trailed in the game, led by as many as 15 points in the first half. But the Buccaneers used a late 16-1 spurt to get as close as three with 2:46 remaining.
ETSU, 11-8, 5-3 SoCon, did damage at the free throw line, outscoring UTC 26 to 19 and making 26-of-30 from the stripe. The Bucs sank 10-of-11 free throws from 5:42 to 2:46 to slice an 89-71 UTC advantage to 90-87. Freshman guard Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) had six points during the string.
The Mocs, who improved to 14-6 and 6-3 in the league, responded with a three-pointer from Jason Rogan and a free throw by Nick Benson to push the margin up to 96-89 with 1:40 to play. Junior forward Jerald Fields' (Gainesville, Fla.) three-pointer with 56 seconds on the clock trimmed the score to 98-94, but ETSU missed three shot attempts in the last 14 seconds.
Back-to-back triples by Tim Parker enabled UTC to race out to a 10-2 lead just three minutes into the game. A 9-2 ETSU run, capped by a layup by junior forward Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) at 14:42, made the score 13-11, but the Mocs, who shot 67.7 percent from the field in the first half, reached its first double-digit lead on a Bryan Richardson layup at 13:02.
The third of four Parker three-pointers in the first half gave the Mocs their largest lead of 40-25 with 6:05 remaining until halftime. Jason Rogan had 16 points in the first half, and Parker netted 14 as UTC registered its highest first-half point total of the season, leading 57-43.
Wadood scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. He also pulled down a season-best 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Freshman point guard Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), who scored 16 first-half points, finished with 18, and Fields chipped in 16.
Rogan finished with a game-high 23 points, two shy of his career high, making 8-of-12 field goals and 4-of-6 three-point shots. Nick Benson scored a season-high 14 points, Alphonso Pugh added 12 and Aaron Morgan had 11. Ray Trowell set a career high with 13 assists, which ties for the high within the SoCon this season.
The Buccaneers return to action on Tuesday night when they face VMI at 7:30 p.m. from Memorial Center.