Wattad's 29 not enough at Davidson, 73-59
DAVIDSON, N.C. --- Despite 29 points from Omar Wattad (Johnson City, Tenn.), the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team dropped a 73-59 decision at Davidson (12-12/6-7) Saturday afternoon. The Mocs are still ahead in the North Division of the Southern Conference with a 10-3 league mark, 14-11 overall.
Wattad hit 6-13 from three-point range, but his teammates struggled shooting 0-17. It was a difficult shooting day overall as the Mocs managed 34.5 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from beyond the arc.
J.P. Kuhlman and Nik Cochran scored 16 apiece for the Wildcats. Cochran came off the bench to hit four treys and add five rebounds and four assists.
Davidson led by one, 39-38, with 13:51 to play after Chris Early (Huntington, W. Va.) hit two free throws for the Mocs. The Wildcats took control of the game with a 12-1 run capped by a Jake Cohen layup.
Wattad quickly answered with a jumper of his own before another run put the game away. Nine unanswered points with a Cochran three as an exclamation point put the Wildcats up 19, 63-44, at 7:53. Chattanooga did not manage to get inside of 14 the rest of the way.
The difference in the physical game came on the boards. Davidson out-muscled the Mocs 50-38 on the glass. Cohen and Da'Mon Brooks had game-high honors with nine each. Five Wildcats recorded five or more boards. Early had six to lead Chattanooga.
The Mocs led for the majority of the first half. It was as high as six four different times. The last was 21-15 at 5:42 on two Taylor free throws. The two teams went into the break tied at 28-all.
Early and Jeremy Saffore (Nashville, Tenn.) provided highlight reel plays. Saffore's tip dunk over two Wildcats with 14:00 to go in the first was his best play of the season. Early's slam came off an excellent no-look pass from junior Ricky Taylor (Brownsville, Tenn.) at 7:29.
Chattanooga held Davidson to just 29.0 percent (9-31) shooting including 5-17 (29.4%) from three-point range in the first half. The Mocs were a bit cold as well shooting 38.5 percent (10-26) from the field due to a 2-12 (16.7%) performance from beyond the arc.
Tonight was the first of four straight on the road for UTC. Next up for the Mocs is Western Carolina on Thursday, February 10, at 7 p.m.