GREENVILLE, S.C. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga lost its second game on the South Carolina upstate swing falling 85-59 at Furman Saturday afternoon. Chattanooga, the Southern Conference North Division leader, is now 11-10 and 7-2 in the league, while the Paladins improve to 14-5, 6-2 in the SoCon South.
Jeremy Saffore (Nashville, Tenn.) and DeAntre Jefferson (Bloomington, Ill.) led the Mocs with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Keegan Bell (Hazel Green, Ala.) added to his league-leading assist total with seven despite the cold shooting day for UTC.
Amu Saaka was the Paladins attack with 30 points and eight rebounds. Colin Reddick came off the bench to chip in 10 points and eight boards.
Furman jumped out early with Noah States scoring its first seven points in pushing to a 7-2 lead. After a Saffore layup cut the deficit to 10-8 at 15:02, the Paladins went to work.
It built the lead to 10, 21-11, behind Saaka and Reddick, with Saaka's jumper at 7:34. That basket capped a 13-3 run for the Paladins.
Jeremy Saffore's three-point play at 7:18 gave life to the Mocs cutting the margin to seven, 21-14. It ended a spurt of nearly eight minutes with just one field goal for UTC.
But it was all Paladins from there. FU closed the half with a 16-7 run to take a 37-21 lead into the break. Saaka powered the attack with 15 first half points.
The Mocs tried to get things going with a trapping defense to open the second frame. After a three-point play by Saaka at 18:26 put the Paladins up 20, 43-23, UTC struck with the press.
It started with an Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.) layup off an offensive rebound at 18:14 and subsequent free throw. That was followed by a Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.) steal and layup just 13 seconds later to make 43-28 at 18:01.
Furman responded with a 17-8 run to retake control building the lead to 24, 60-36, with 12:21 to go on a Justin Dehm jumper. Five different Paladins scored during the outburst.
Chattanooga closed the lead to 17 with seven straight points as a Troy Cage (Baton Rouge, La.) jumper, 60-43, at 10:02. But it would get no closer as Furman stayed on the gas to claim the 85-59 win.
After a season-best offensive performance Monday night, UTC had its second straight subpar shooting performance. Chattanooga managed just 33.9 percent (20-59) from the field, 13.6 percent (3-22) from three-point range and 51.6 percent (16-31) from the free throw line.
Furman on the other hand was sharp offensively. The Paladins shot 49.2 percent (29-59) overall, 41.9 percent (13-31) from behind the arc and 66.7 percent (14-21) at the line.
UTC managed to win the rebounding battle 42-39. Jefferson had eight, Saffore seven (tying season high) and Burroughs six.
The Mocs return home to host a trio of SoCon games beginning Thursday with UNC Greensboro. Game time is 7 p.m. Fans can access live audio and stats via Chattanooga All-Access on GoMocs.com. The game will also broadcast on the Mocs Sports Network on ESPN 105.1 FM in the Chattanooga area with the "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds.
The three games are part of "Mocs Hoopla" celebrating six games in 13 days between the men's and women's basketball programs. There are several giveaways and promotions tied into the two-week period.
Fans are encouraged to wear gold for the UNCG game with an award for the most spirited dressed student. Saturday's game with Elon is Legends Weekend with a basketball reunion for the storied Mocs tradition.