Mocs lose Dontay Hampton to a broken hand - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mocs lose Dontay Hampton to a broken hand

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Photo Courtesy: UTC Athletics and GoMocs.com. Photo Courtesy: UTC Athletics and GoMocs.com.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- John Shulman thought Thursday night's remarkable rally was a sign that his team was finally starting to catch a few breaks.

Down 19 points with 6:36 to play, the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga men's basketball team rallied for force overtime and eventually beat rival Appalachian State 91-88.

"I thought we were dead many times," Shulman said. "To come back, to get a little fortunate here. We deserved to get a little fortunate."

The Mocs did catch a big break in the victory, but an unfortunate one that soured Dontay Hampton's career night.

The senior point guard was diagnosed with a broken hand Friday morning, an injury suffered when Hampton was fouled with just nine seconds left in overtime.

"He hit my elbow or something, and I lost balance and had to press down on the ground," Hampton said after the game.

With his shooting hand throbbing, Hampton missed two free throws after the foul. He showed up to the post-game press conference with his hand wrapped in ice, but shrugged it off as "just a sprain."

Turns out, it was a lot worse.

"Whether he plays again this year we're not sure. We'll have to see how it goes and progresses," Shulman said Friday afternoon. "Some people say just let it heal, and others say have surgery on it.

"While it heals he can possibly play. I just don't know the pain tolerance he's going to have."

The former Chattanooga Arts and Sciences standout has already dealt with plenty of pain this year, missing the first 15 games of the season with a torn ACL before making his return last Thursday at The Citadel.

He had a career-high 22 points and hit the game-tying 3-pointer to force OT in Thursday night's win, showing just how big a difference he could make on this young Mocs' team.

"Tay is just phenomenal," said sophomore guard Ronrico White. "He really gets me going. When I see him going, it makes me want to play a little harder and do things for him because I know this is his last ride."

Now that ride may be over just as it was getting started.

Hampton is not eligible for a medical redshirt or a hardship waiver for an extra year, so if he does not return this season his college career is over.

Shulman said it's a big blow for the local kid who started at UTC as a walk-on, as well as his team, but neither can afford to make this a knockout blow.

Hampton will have a better idea of his options and a timetable for a possible return early next week, but his team will move forward without him starting Saturday at home against Western Carolina.

"Last time I checked, Samford is 4-1 in the league. They've got one loss, and it's to us at their place. Tay didn't play in that game, so we're used to playing without him," Shulman said. "If we have to play without him, we'll play without him. If we can use him, then we'll use him.

"We've had plenty of adversity already this year. We'll figure it out on the fly. That's what we do."

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