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Originally published: 2014-01-17 00:25:50
Last modified: 2014-01-17 00:26:36

Chattanooga cruises past App State

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

There were times during Appalachian State's 80-70 loss to Southern Conference rival Chattanooga when the Mountaineers held a 10-point lead.

Appalachian State (4-13, 0-4) took a 15-5 lead after the Mocs scored on just two of 10 possessions. Chattanooga (11-8, 5-0), whose victory over Appalachian State was the Mocs' seventh straight, not only managed to catch the Mountaineers, but broke a 25-25 tie with a 15-4 run and took a 40-29 halftime lead.

Appalachian State never recovered, despite a run late in the second half.

"We got a good start," Mountaineers coach Jason Capel said. "We did some things in the first half, but having to double and rotate around, we didn't do it as well as we needed to do it."

Appalachian State struggled with its shooting from the field during the final 5:37 of the first half. The Mountaineers made just 2-of-8 from the field and turned the ball over twice during Chattanooga's 15-4 run.

Appalachian State ended up making 31.4 percent (11-of-35) from the field in the first half. Chattanooga countered by making 6-of-8 3-point shots and shooting 46.7 percent from the floor during the first 20 minutes.

Chattanooga turned to Z. Mason and Martynas Bareika for offense in the first half. Both forwards finished the first with 12 points, and took all of the Mocs' 3-point shots. Martynas was a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"We got 16 of 18 stops to end the half," first-year Chattanooga coach Will Wade said. "We were able to get stops and get the ball out on transition and get going."

Mason led all scorers with 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked six shots. Bareika added 16 points, while teammate Casey Jones scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Capel credited Mason for making shots and grabbing rebounds when the Mocs need him to do both.

"I think you guys have heard me before say that this league is about upperclassmen," Capel said. "Whenever they got into trouble, they just threw (Mason) the ball and got the heck out of his way. He's a grown man. He dominated the game."

App State got 18 points from Jay Canty, who played 38 minutes. The Mountaineers also 16 points from Mike Neal, who played 39 minutes, 12 points from Tab Hamilton and 10 points from Michael Obacha.

Chattanooga maintained a double-digit lead until App State made a move late in the second half. App State got two foul shots from Obacha that cut the Mocs' lead, which was once 16 points, to 68-60 with 5:59 left in the game.

App State also looked like it got a stop on Chattanooga's ensuing possession when Jones missed a shot. But the not only got the rebound off that shot, but on another Chattanooga miss before Bareika got a stickback to put the Mocs up by 10.

App State closed the lead back to eight again, but the Mocs pushed it back to 10 again after getting two more offensive rebounds on their next possession.

App State was called for an offensive foul on its next possession, Chattanooga scored again on a Bareika basket, and the Mountaineers never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.

"We made them miss," Capel said. "We did the job and the thing that ticks me off the most was that was our big lineup. You talk about having Obacha and Spagnolo and Jay in. We made them miss, cut it to eight or six, made them miss a few times, (but) when you score 70 points at home you should win."

Appalachian State, which has still yet to beat a Division I team this season, goes back to the drawing board at 2 p.m. Saturday when the Mountaineers host Georgia Southern. The Eagles are 9-9 overall, 2-1 in the SoCon after beating Furman 88-81 in overtime in Statesboro, Ga.

The Eagles are led by Jelani Hewitt, who leads the SoCon in scoring with 20.8 points per game. Tre Bussey, who scored 26 points against Furman, is fifth in the SoCon in scoring with 18.6 points per game.

Georgia Southern is also third in the SoCon in scoring with 75.5 points per game, and second in points allowed with 72.1 points per game.



Chattanooga 80, Appalachian State 70

Chattanooga 80 (11-8, 5-0)

Bareika 6-12 0-0 16, Mason 9-17 1-1 22, Pryor 1-5 4-4 6, McGhee 3-6 1-2 7, Jones 5-10 4-6 14, White 2-3 8-9 13, Stokes 0-0 0-2 0, Bran 0-0 0-0 0, Robertson 1-3 0-0 2, Houts 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-56 80.

Appalachian State 70 (4-13, 0-4)

Baskin 0-3 0-0 0, Obacha 4-4 2-4 10, Hamilton 5-13 1-1 12, Neal 6-15 4-5 16, Canty 5-10 8-11 18, Burgess 1-2 0-0 3, Gilbert 0-0 0-0 0, Spagnolo 2-5 1-2 5, Eaves 2-10 1-2 6. Totals 25-62 17-25 70.

Halftime score--UTC 40, App State 29. 3-point goals--UTC 8-15 (Bareika 4-9, Mason 3-4, White 1-2), App State 3-14 (Burgess 1-2, Hamilton 1-5, Eaves 1-5, Neal 0-1, Canty 0-1). Rebounds--UTC 39 (Mason 12), App State 32 (Spagnolo 7). Assists--UTC 12 (Bareika 3), App State 11 (Neal 4). Steals--UTC 2 (Pryor, Stokes), App State 6 (Neal 2). Turnovers--UTC 13, App State 8. Total fouls--UTC 19, App State 21. Fouled out--None. Technical fouls--None. Att.--1,093.


SoCon standings

Team                           League All

Chattanooga                5-0       11-8

Western Carolina        3-0       10-8

Elon                             3-1       108

UNCG                          3-1       10-9

Davidson                     3-1       7-11

Georgia Southern        2-1       9-9

Wofford                      2-2       7-9

Appalachian State       0-4       4-13

The Citadel                 0-4       4-15

Furman                        0-5       6-12