UTC Men outlast Marshall at Buzzer, 69-68
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2-2) needed all 40 minutes to capture a 69-68 win over Marshall (2-1) in the Henderson Center Saturday night. The win was secured by junior point guard Keegan Bell (Hazel Green, Ala.).
Bell took a charge as time expired on a DeAndre Kane drive. With the Thundering Herd scrambling on offense with time winding down, Kane drove hard to the basket and released a shot that fell, but not released before he barreled into Bell.
It was a resilient effort by the Mocs all night. Marshall led by as many as 10 points in the first half and eight in the second. The Herd was up 50-42 with 15:19 with to play in the game.
Chattanooga responded with a 9-2 run to come within 52-51 on an Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.) three-point play with 11:53 remaining. The Herd pushed back to five points as late as 6:57. 61-56, on a Kane three-pointer.
UTC continued to battle tying the score at 62-all on two Josh Odem (Johnson City, Tenn.) with 4:56 left. Marshall took its final lead 25 seconds later on a Shaquille Johnson layup making it 64-62. Wattad put the Mocs in front for good, 65-64 with a three-pointer. Saffore had the Mocs' final four points to set up Bell's heroics.
Huntington, W. Va., native Chris Early led the Mocs tying his career high with 13 points, along with a team-best seven rebounds. Bell added 12 points and four assists, while Wattad chipped in 11 points and six rebounds.
Kane had a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds for the Herd. Dago Pena had 12 points, while Johnson had 10 points and five assists. Nigel Spikes led all rebounders with nine.
A three-point play by Johnny Higgins gave Marshall its 10-point first half lead, 21-11, at 9:46. A 15-5 run tied it up for the Mocs with back-to-back threes by Early tying it up. Troy Cage's (Baton Rouge, La.) three with 43 seconds to go gave UTC a 36-35 halftime lead.
Dontay Hampton (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Jeremy Saffore (Nashville, Tenn.) played key roles for Chattanooga. Saffore had eight points, all in the second half, tying Early's seven boards. Hampton had seven points, two rebounds and two steals.
The Mocs trek across I-64 West tonight to face Louisville on Monday evening at the new KFC Yum! Center at 7 p.m. The game can be watched on ESPN3.com with Dave Weekley and Bob Valvano on the call. Chattanooga returns home after the Cardinals game to match up with Jackson State on Wednesday at 7 p.m., in McKenzie Arena.