CHATTANOOGA (WRCB/UTC) -- Nik Cochran hit a free throw with 1.7 seconds left and Davidson escaped Chattanooga with a 64-63 win on Thursday night to stay unbeaten in Southern Conference play.
UTC fought back from a 13-point second half deficit to tie the game on a Keegan Bell 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left, but Omar Wattad fouled Cochran on a drive in the closing moments to give the Wildcats a shot at the win.
"That's our second straight that we've lost by a point. Now let's see how much resiliency we've got," said Mocs' head coach John Shulman, whose team has now lost four in a row. "Getting beat by one is heartbreaking but we're going to get back off our duff and we're going to get back going again. I was proud of our guy's effort.
"We didn't play fantastic, but man, I think we battled enough to win the basketball game."
Ricky Taylor led the Mocs with 14 points, including seven in a row midway through the second half after the Wildcats built up a double-digit lead.
"We really did deserve to win this game," Taylor said. "We were really close. But we're tired of hearing Coach Shulman say that, and we know he's tired of saying it. We just have to continue playing hard, unselfish and buckle down defensively."
The Mocs managed to pull within one, 53-52, on a Taylor layup with 5:25 remaining, only to watch Davidson get back-to-back baskets from Chris Czerapowicz to push their advantage back to 62-55 with 1:21 to play.
"Chattanooga did not give up. You don't do that if you're a John Shulman team or a class with as many seniors as they have," said Davidson head coach Bob McKillop. "We feel very fortunate to get out of here with a victory.
"And give their crowd credit. I thought it was a very loud and energetic crowd. I think it inspired Chattanooga in several moments during the game. They wouldn't let Chattanooga die."
The Mocs went inside to Jared Bryant then got a clutch 3-pointer from Bell to cut the deficit to 62-60. After Jake Cohen hit one of two free throws, Bell buried the game-tying bucket from 25-feet out with 4.5 seconds to go.
"My shot feels good, they just haven't been going down," said Bell, who has been mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career. "It was nice to get those to go tonight. Sometimes all you need is a couple shots to fall to get back into it.
"We're a resilient bunch. I think it is easy to keep fighting. Coach Shulman looked at us and everyone said there was no way we're bagging it or backing down. We're as hungry as ever to get to practice tomorrow and get ready to roll. We're going to learn from our mistakes and the little things we did wrong."
Bryant, Dontay Hampton and Drazen Zlovaric all finished with 10 points apiece, giving the Mocs four players in double figures. Bryant's play was his best to date as he added eight rebounds to lead the Mocs effort on the glass while shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line.
Davidson was paced by Kuhlman's 16 points, which included a 4-5 performance from beyond the arc. Cohen had 10 points, while De'Mon Brooks added a game-high 10 rebounds.
After giving up 80 points or more in three straight games, Chattanooga finally rediscovered its defense against Wildcats.
Davidson came in as the highest-scoring team in the SoCon at 80 points per game, but left as the 11th team this season that UTC has held to less than 40 percent shooting. The 38.6 percent night from the floor was the Cats' season-low in SoCon play.
"We battled enough, but for whatever reason we can't get a whole of good stuff to happen for us," Shulman said. "We battled through injuries. Z (Mason) couldn't go much because of his knee. Jahmal had a hamstring issue. We battled with a lineup we've never used.
"For whatever reason the basketball gods aren't letting us have success right now. I don't know why. We deserve it and we're playing hard enough. What do you do? You have to go back to work."
Chattanooga hosts another SoCon South Division opponent on Saturday when former UTC associate head coach Charlton Young brings Georgia Southern to McKenzie Arena. The game is a part of a doubleheader with the Lady Mocs starting at 5 p.m. ET, and the men following at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.
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