CHATTANOOGA (UTC/WRCB) -- The senior duo of Ricky Taylor and Omar Wattad combined for 46 points to help Chattanooga snap a seven-game losing streak with an 83-75 over Elon on Thursday night at McKenzie Arena.
"What a relief," Taylor said. "Now we have to start getting on a roll. I'm proud of this basketball team. We played with passion tonight and a lot of energy. We got the win and got the job done.
"I'm just really proud of the way we played tonight."
Taylor (13) and Wattad (14) had 27 of their points in a second-half comeback, but it might have been Jahmal Burroughs who made the biggest difference.
The senior forward, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, came off the bench added 11 points, nine rebounds and a collection of hustle plays that will no doubt be featured the team's video study on Friday.
"We battled and battled and I thought Jahmal got us out of [the slump]," said head coach John Shulman. "He made hustle play after hustle play and he made a huge play on an offensive rebound that we probably didn't deserve. He got a huge play.
"It's nice, to tell you the truth, it's just nice to see our kids smile and all and enjoying and having a good feeling for a change."
Lucas Troutman hit one of two free throws with 12:11 to play to give the Phoenix a 57-51 lead. After a Jahmal Burroughs layup at 11:22, Wattad buried a deep three-pointer to make it a one-point ball game, 57-56, with 9:59 remaining.
Taylor tied the score at 59-all on a three-pointer in front of the Mocs bench at 9:13. Freshman Ronrico White put UTC up for good, 62-59, burying a trey from the opposite corner on the next possession at 8:32. Taylor capped the 14-2 run with an old-fashioned three-point play 23 seconds later pushing the lead to six, 65-59.
"We gained some momentum there," Taylor said. "We made some hustle plays and we rebounded the ball well. Everything started going our way."
Elon, the SoCon North Division leader, cut the margin to two twice. The first came on a Troutman slam off a nice feed from Sebastian Koch at 5:08, 67-65. Two Burroughs free throws extended the lead back to four before another Troutman basket made it 69-67 at 4:27.
Taylor scored the next five points on two free throws and a dagger of a three-pointer at 2:19 off a nice pass from Wattad. Drazen Zlovaric followed with a layup off an Elon turnover to push the lead to 76-67 with 1:53 to go.
After starting three-for-eight from the free throw line, Chattanooga hit nine of its last 10. That included five-for-six in the game's final 43.3 seconds.
"We talked about being a little mad," Shulman said. "I've been very positive and that's great, but sometime or another, you've got to get mad. If the guy in the cafeteria keeps taking your lunch money every day, you can't keep giving him your lunch money. You have to stand up sometime.
"I thought tonight we stood up to it. I thought we played mad and angry in the second half. Our kids played determined in the second half."
Burroughs tied his career high of 11 points while setting a new high with game-high nine rebounds. Zlovaric added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Wattad grabbed eight boards of his own.
"I don't think enough can be said about the way Jahmal played," said Wattad. "So many loose balls he picked up and I don't think people realize the selfless plays he makes. Stuff like that goes unnoticed in basketball."
Elon had five players in double figures led by Koch's 20. Jack Isenbarger had 14 points and eight assists, while Troutman tallied 13 points. Drew Spradlin and Ryley Beaumont added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Chattanooga shot 49.2 percent making 30 of 61 from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range hitting 11 of 24. UTC made 58.3 percent (7-12) from beyond the arc in the second half.
"It's been exhausting, it's been rough. But adversity introduces you to yourself. Sometimes you like it sometimes you don't like it. But we've come back battling and I'm happy for them," Shulman said. "We're just starting again. There wasn't pandemonium in our locker room. They were happy, they were pleased. Hopefully we can build on this and keep on having some success."
The Mocs stay home on Saturday hosting UNCG as the second-game in a doubleheader with the women's team. The Lady Mocs take on College of Charleston at 5 p.m. Blackout conditions are in effect as fans are encouraged to wear black.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.
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