GAME NOTES: The Furman Paladins conclude their 2011-12 home schedule tonight with a Southern Conference showdown against the Chattanooga Mocs at Timmons Arena.
Chattanooga has lost 10 of its last 11 contests, and enter tonight's affair with an underwhelming 10-19 overall ledger. The Mocs have yet to win a game away from home this season, and dropped to just 4-12 in SoCon play in an ugly 48-46 loss to The Citadel last Saturday.
As for Furman, the Paladins fell to 13-14 overall and 7-9 in league action with a 55-49 setback at Samford over the weekend. The loss was the third of the squad's last five outings, in spite of the fact that only two of those outings took place on the road.
The Mocs lead, 47-26, in terms of the all-time series between the two programs.
The Mocs missed a pair of three-point attempts in the closing seconds against The Citadel to end up on the losing end of a two-point affair. Of course, shooting 3-for-21 from beyond the arc overall during the contest did little to help Chattanooga's cause, as the Mocs tied their lowest point-total of the season, a mark reached back on November 15th in a 57-46 setback against Butler. The Mocs shot at a meager 32.1 percent from the floor against the Citadel, helping to negate a solid defensive effort that saw Chattanooga force a game-high 17 turnovers. The Mocs turned the giveaways into just 10 points, and the club struggled at the foul line as well with a mere 9-of-16 effort. Dontay Hampton scored 12 points from off the bench to lead the way for UTC, while Drazen Zlovaric added 11 points. Despite a rather pedestrian 41.7 team shooting percentage, the Mocs average a healthy 70.7 points per game this season. That number is a little padded, however, due to the fact that the Mocs have been a bit of an all or nothing team this year. In seven of the squad's 10 victories, they have breached the 75-point mark, in addition to having eclipsed the 90-point threshold on three occasions. On the reverse side though, UTC has been kept in check to under 70 points in 12 contests, and stifled to under 60 in five. Omar Wattad leads the way in scoring for the club on the year, with a 12.7 ppg tally. Ricky Taylor follows closely behind (12.4 ppg), while Zlovaric joins the duo in double figures with 10.6 points to go with a team-leading 6.9 rebounds per contest.
Furman managed just a 34.5 percent effort from the field against Samford last Saturday, a mark that included just 6-for-29 from long range. The Paladins only got to the foul line eight times during the meeting, going 5-for-8 at the stripe, and were guilty of a game-high 13 miscues. At the other end of the court, the Paladins allowed the Bulldogs to shoot at a 46.8 percent clip, and allowed a pivotal 7-0 run over the final 1:13 of the contest that erased a 49-48 Furman advantage. Jordan Loyd scored 15 points to lead the way for the Paladins. The meeting was par for the course as far as the season goes for Furman, in terms of consistently sound defensive play combined with a lackluster offensive effort. The Paladins have kept the opposition in check to the tune of 65.2 ppg this year, a scoring total oddly enough mirrored themselves. Opponents are shooting 43.3 percent from the field against Furman up to this point, but have also netted just 30.3 percent of their chances from beyond the arc. The Paladins own a slight 34.0-32.5 rpg edge over their adversaries as well, but have also been responsible for 14.0 miscues per contest compared to 12.7 tpg for their opponents. The Paladins are shooting at an underwhelming 41.4 percent pace as a team, but have found moderate success at the charity stripe (73.6 percent). Brandon Sebirumbi leads the way in scoring (10.8 ppg), while Charlie Reddick joins him in double digits with a 10.3 ppg contribution.
Given the Mocs' track record on the road this season, go with the Paladins here. Chattanooga's uneven play combined with a solid Furman defense does not bode well for the Mocs.