CHATTANOOGA (WRCB/UTC) -- Z. Mason, Dontay Hampton and Ronrico White combined for 62 points to spark a wild Chattanooga rally in the Mocs' 91-88 come-from-behind overtime win over Appalachian State in McKenzie Arena Thursday night.
UTC trailed by 19 before coming alive to outscore the Mountaineers 33-14 over the final 6:36 of regulation to force the extra period.
"I still can't believe I'm sitting here talking to you guys after a win," said head coach John Shulman. "Even though we were down 19, I still felt like we were a pretty good basketball team. We were just playing really poorly. Give those guys credit, they never quit.
"We talked about getting one stop at a time, and I told them I would let them know when they could quit, and it will be sometime in March. So until that time, we are going to play basketball."
Mason had game highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, while White chipped in 17 points.
Hampton, who tallied a career-high 22 points, capped the furious rally with an NBA-range three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to tie the game at 78 and force OT. The Mocs closed regulation on an 8-1 run after Jay Canty gave the Mountaineers a seven-point cushion, 77-70, with a layup with 1:30 to play.
"Coach just told us to keep playing," said Hampton, who was playing just his third game since returning from a torn ACL. "I kept telling the guys the game wasn't over. Everybody here is hungry, and I just told them to keep playing."
Chattanooga (8-10, 3-2 in SoCon) didn't grab its first lead until Hampton a 3-pointer with 3:28 to go in overtime for an 83-82 advantage.
Down two a few minutes later, Drazen Zlovaric pulled the Mocs even again with a baseline jumper, and a Gee McGhee at the other end led to Mason's go-ahead layup with two minutes to go.
The Mocs never trailed again.
"I thought we thoroughly dominated this game for 34 minutes," said Appalachian State head coach Jason Capel. "We did everything we worked on and everything we did to prepare. We executed to a 'T' and that's what got us the lead early.
"I'm disappointed, obviously, in the way we finished the game, but a lot of credit has to go to Chattanooga for not giving up."
White hit nine of ten free throws on the night, including a perfect four-for-four in the closing minute. His final pair gave UTC a 91-88 lead with 6.6 to play.
Healy, who hit four treys in the game en route to a team-high 22 points, watched his game-tying effort rattle out as the buzzer sounded to seal the Mocs' win.
"It's more of a pride thing with us," White said about the Mocs' second come-from-behind win in the last three games. "We get behind in the games, we say that we are better than this and then we just turn it on.
"It seemed like we just couldn't the play we needed to get us going, but once it happened in the second half, everything seemed to just click for us."
Zlovaric added 10 points and six rebounds in the win for UTC. Tab Hamilton posted 21 points and Jay Canty added 19 for App State (7-9, 3-2).
Despite debuting new bright gold jerseys, the Mocs found themselves in a 10-point whole just eight minutes into the game. Chattanooga erased the deficit with an 11-1 run to pull even at 29-all, but then let ASU finish the half on a 9-1 run to take an eight-point lead at the break.
UTC mistakes led to easy transition points for the Mountaineers, who pushed the lead to 64-45 with 6:36 to play to set the stage for the Mocs' rally.
"We had enough bad stuff happen to us in that game that I wouldn't have blamed us for saying enough is enough," Shulman said. "I'm pleased, but I'm not giddy. We're going to move on to the next one. We have to.
"But I'll say this, the people who left the arena made a really poor choice. Don't give up on our basketball team."
Chattanooga will face another tough test Saturday with a visit from Western Carolina at 7 p.m. ET.
Samford beat the Catamounts 64-60 Thursday night to take sole possession of first place in the North Division. Western Carolina sits a half-game ahead of UTC at 4-2 in league play.
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