Taylor fuels Chattanooga's rout of Hiwassee
CHATTANOOGA (UTC/WRCB) -- Ricky Taylor scored 21 points and fueled a 27-0 first-half run that led Chattanooga to an easy 95-41 win over visiting Hiwassee on Wednesday afternoon at McKenzie Arena.
The rout was the Mocs' third win over a non-Division I opponent this season. The Tigers play in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA).
"This is hard to play a game at Noon right before you leave for Christmas break, but I thought they did a nice job of coming out," said head coach John Shulman.
Taylor did most of the heavy lifting.
The senior guard scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half, with 16 of them coming during UTC's 27-0 spurt. He finished the first half 7-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-5 behind the 3-point arc to move ten points shy of 1,000 for his college career.
"We had better looks against Kentucky, but for some reason the ball just didn't go in," Shulman said. "Today he looked pretty good because the ball was going in for him."
Eleven different players scored for the Mocs. Jared Bryant and Dontay Hampton each finished with 14 points to join Taylor in double figures. Bryant added seven rebounds in his first collegiate start, while Hamtpon hit four 3-pointers.
As a team, UTC shot better than 55-percent from the floor and from 3-point range while holding Hiwassee to just 26.1-percent shooting.
"I thought we did a good job," said senior point guard Keegan Bell. "We really opened the game out well and executed what we were supposed to do. We did a great job defensively, and Ricky was hitting everything he put up.
"It makes it for an easier game."
Bell was the only UTC player who didn't score, but he finished with eight assists and no turnovers.
After a sluggish start kept Hiwassee within 16-9 at the 13:49 mark of the first half, Chattanooga woke up defensively to hold Hiwassee without a basket for the next eleven minutes. Taylor sparked the offense with 13 straight points in the game-changing run that pushed UTC's lead to 45-15 at the break.
Lance Stokes, who was also making his first career start, added nine points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals in his 20 minutes for the Mocs.
Brandon Carpenter and Ty Johnson led the Tigers with seven points apiece.
Omar Wattad was held out with concussion symptoms after taking a blow to the head in Monday's practice. Drazen Zlovaric was benched to start the game because he was late for the team's morning meal.
"It's been a very difficult first half (of the season)," Shulman said. "I'm not sure who believes we can do this or that, but our goal when we get back in here on Dec. 26 is to be the best basketball team this team can be.
"We've had some crazy stuff happen to us, and we haven't played great basketball, but that's the goal when we get back."
The Mocs return to action at McKenzie Arena on December 29th for the 22nd Dr Pepper Classic. UTC opens the holiday tradition with Longwood at 7 p.m., following Hampton and Utah Valley at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.