Grizz Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 90-87 Win Over Celtics

By Grahm Long

xpf623@mocs.utc.edu

BOSTON (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies are still in the playoff chase, and they’re doing it with a couple of guys who know a little bit about the postseason.

Leon Powe and Tony Allen, members of the Celtics’ 2008 championship team, returned to Boston on Wednesday night to help the Memphis Grizzlies win 90-87 and solidify their hold on the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

“When you can come on the road and beat a great team like that, and do it on the defensive end, it’s huge for a young, up-and-coming team,” said Powe, who scored 13 points. “That just adds to our confidence.”

Marc Gasol scored 11 points with 11 rebounds and Zach Randolph had 13 and eight for Memphis, which improved to one-half game behind seventh-place New Orleans in the West. The Grizzlies remained two games ahead of ninth-place Houston, which beat Golden State later Wednesday.

Powe, who spent the first three years of his career in Boston, saw little action in Cleveland before the Cavaliers released him to sign with Memphis on March 5. He came off the bench to score 13 points in 17 minutes — his best game since signing with the Grizzlies.

“Leon Powe was the baddest man on the planet tonight,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s not like they tricked us. They just drove through somebody and scored.”

Allen spent the first six years of his career in Boston before signing with Memphis as a free agent last summer. He scored nine with five assists.

“They’re both really tough, physical guys. They’re veteran guys who have been to the mountaintop and won,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “This is our second year in a row coming in here and getting a win, so this is special. But I’m sure for those guys this is extra special.”

Paul Pierce scored 22 for Boston, but he missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime and the Celtics lost for the fifth time in nine games and fell one game behind Chicago (51-19) in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Rajon Rondo had six points, seven steals, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but he missed an ill-advised one-handed floater in the lane with 18 seconds left and Boston trailing 88-87.

“It’s so easy to second-guess it now,” said Rivers, who didn’t call a timeout because he thought Rondo was going to pass it to Pierce. “I just think your best offensive player should always touch the ball on the last possession.”

Memphis led 84-77 in the fourth quarter before Boston cut the deficit to one point, 86-85, with just over 3 minutes left on Pierce’s 3-pointer. Gasol made it a three-point game before Glen “Big Baby” Davis made a jumper with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to one point.

Davis had a chance to put Boston ahead, but Gasol blocked it, and then Gasol stole a pass from Ray Allen with 80 seconds left before converting a layup to make it 88-85. Davis’ jumper made it a one-point game again, then Rondo rebounded a Memphis miss and brought the ball the length of the court before floating up a one-handed shot that bounced off the back of the rim.

The Celtics sent Mike Conley to the line with 14 seconds left, and he made both free throws. Davis’ 3-point attempt to tie it missed, but after Gasol was fouled he missed both free throws with 4.6 seconds left, giving Boston the ball and a chance to send the game into overtime.

Boston inbounded the ball to Pierce but he couldn’t get off a clear shot.

“He is one of those prolific-type dudes,” Tony Allen said. “He’s hit shots like that in his career. He missed and we got the win.”

After falling behind 36-26 in the second quarter, the Celtics scored eight straight points — including back-to-back 3-pointers from Allen— to make it a two-point game. It was 38-34 when Boston again scored eight in a row to take the lead before Memphis scored twice in the final minute to make it 45-44 at the half.

Notes: Powe and Tony Allen received a warm welcome from the crowd at introductions. … Ray Allen wore a bandage above his right eye. He received seven stitches after being elbowed by Jared Jeffries in Monday night’s game against the New York Knicks. Allen and Pierce are the only Celtics to play in all 70 games this season. … The Grizzlies said on Tuesday that No. 2 scorer Rudy Gay would miss the rest of the season to have surgery on his partially dislocated left shoulder.

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

 

Lady Mocs fall short in NCAA Tourney

By Xan Gwaltney

TEMPE, Ariz. (UTC/The Loop) — The UTC women’s basketball team’s upset bid in the NCAA Tournament fell short Saturday night with a 70-63 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowgirls – a disappointing end to an otherwise great season for Coach Wes Moore and the Lady Mocs.

For the first half the shoe seemed to fit for UTC’s shot at becoming the Cinderella of the 2010 tournament, with the Lady Mocs holding an 18-point halftime lead at 37-19.

View Complete Box Score

In the first half, the Cowgirls struggled to find a rhythm offensively without guard Andrea Riley, the nation’s third-leading scorer, who was suspended for the game.  Also facing a solid defensive effort from UTC, OSU shot just 17.1 percent in the first half.

Mocs Senior Shanara Hollinquest

Mocs Senior Shanara Hollinquest

But after halftime shots began to fall for the Cowgirls, and they were able to apply a frenetic full-court press that forced the Lady Mocs into 17 second-half turnovers.

Freshman guard Kayla Christopher said, “We lost our composure when they went to the press, gave up a few too many turnovers and they took advantage.”

Toni Young scored 16 of her career-high 22 points and Tegan Cunningham scored 19 of her 25 in the second half to lead the Cowgirls’ comeback.

Christopher led the Lady Mocs with 15 points while two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year Shanara Hollinquest had 14 points and 11 rebounds in her final game.  Although this was the end of her college career, she said, “I’m proud of the team and how we performed down the stretch.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

It was also the final collegiate game for Lady Mocs seniors Tagan Hatchett, Megan Rollins, and Jenaya Wade-Fray.

Keep up to date with all UTC sports teams on Gomocs.com

Back home in Chattanooga, fans gathered at Big River Grille on Broad Street for a viewing party.

A sparse crowd of enthusiastic fans left disappointed, but they remain faithful to the Mocs, though many did not attend the university.

Ken Hays, a local art and framing distributor, said he is not a UTC graduate but has supported the Mocs teams and regularly attended games for over 25 years.

Brandon Potts, Director of the UTC Mocs Club, was certainly disappointed with the game’s outcome, but was pleased with a solid turnout from fans at Big River.

The Lady Mocs finish their season 24-9, the program’s 11th consecutive 20-win season.

One Year Makes World of Difference for Mocs

By Jeremy Acree

E-mail to: Jeremy-Acree@utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — Just before Chattanooga basketball coach John Shulman sat down for his postgame radio interview after a Senior Night win over Davidson, he spotted a few ex-players and his face lit up. They were some of the seniors from last year’s team that won the Southern Conference Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament.

“You see this guy?” Shulman asked his wife as he laughed and pointed at Niccheaus Doaks, a forward who is now playing professionally overseas.

Keyron Sheard and the Mocs were on top of the world in 2009 after winning the SoCon Tournament.

Keyron Sheard and the Mocs were on top of the world in 2009 after winning the SoCon Tournament.

Shulman gave Doaks a big hug, rubbed the 6-foot-10 big man’s mini-afro and could barely contain his wide smile. Kevin Goffney – who has stayed at UTC to get his degree – also dropped by to say hello to Shulman, his wife and their kids. It was like a family reunion. The memories of cutting down the nets and earning an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show seemed to come flooding back for a moment.

Click here to see the 2008-09 team’s guest appearance.

How things have changed in such a short time.

Flip last year’s team upside down and it is an exact replica of the 2009-10 squad. Goffney and Doaks were two of six seniors on that team. This year, it was only Ty Patterson being honored before the Davidson game.

“It’s weird being the only senior,” Patterson said.

Guys like Zach Ferrell and Keyron Sheard were the glue that kept spirits high after a 4-12 start that included losing the first three conference games in 2008.

This season, Shulman has had to push and prod just to get Patterson to keep up.

“He has been up and down with our team,” Shulman said about Patterson. “I told him [before Senior Night] if he wanted to win that he would have to play with way more effort than he had been playing with.”

This year’s team has taken a much different path than last year’s. In that 4-12 start, the Mocs played at Tennessee, at Missouri, in Puerto Rico against Southern California and Memphis and started the Southern Conference at Davidson – which was, at the time, home to Stephen Curry.

This year the Mocs started with a blowout of Virginia Intermont and an emotional win over rival East Tennessee State. A tournament in South Padre Island and games against Georgia Tech and Missouri were added difficulty to the schedule, but the Mocs were very happy with their 8-6 record over the first 14 games.

The Mocs started off the 2009-10 season strong, but have since fallen in the SoCon rankings.

The Mocs started off the 2009-10 season strong, but have since fallen in the SoCon rankings.

“I am excited,” Shulman said after his team beat Eastern Kentucky in the final tune-up before full-fledged conference play began. “We are not a finished product. But we battled… so that is promising.”

See the Mocs’ full schedule and more statistics here.

Things haven’t been so smooth since that point. Going into the Davidson game, the Mocs had lost nine of their last 11.

It was at this point last year when the team was coming together and looking forward to making a run in the tournament.

The 2008-09 group won 11-of-14 heading into Senior Night. The starting lineup hardly ever changed, and every man knew his role.

Last year the emotion of six seniors’ final game in the McKenzie Arena was too much to overcome, and the Mocs lost to College of Charleston. Then they lost to Appalachian State and Western Carolina on the road to finish the season with three straight defeats. But they managed to clinch a first-round bye in the SoCon Tournament – no team has ever won without it – and took advantage of the support they received while playing the tournament in Chattanooga.

After six players graduated last year, Ty Patterson was the only senior night honoree in 2010.

After six players graduated last year, Ty Patterson was the only senior night honoree in 2010.

That may be the biggest obstacle for this year’s team.

The ticket to the Big Dance does not go through McKenzie Arena. This year the SoCon Tournament is in Charlotte, N.C., and the Mocs will not have the luxury of playing one less game.

That change of venue hasn’t dampened the Mocs’ self-belief, though. The brash confidence is another difference youth has brought in 2010.

“We expected everyone to doubt us and think that we’re out,” sophomore Keegan Bell said. “But we have a chance to do something special. We believe it. This year is not over at all.”

Keegan Bell thinks the Mocs can turn it around.

Men’s Basketball Tickets on Sale for Upcoming Season

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Tickets for the defending SoCon Champs, the Chattanooga Mocs Men’s Basketball Team have gone on sale.

The schedule features 17 home games, including a headline matchup against the ACC’s Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are making the trip to Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena for the first time in almost two decades.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

“This is a home schedule that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy,” said Athletic Director Rick Hart. “John (Shulman) and his staff have done a great job putting together a competitive schedule in an economic climate that makes it increasingly difficult.”

Season tickets can be purchased online by visiting GoMocs.com, or by calling the ticket office at (423) 266-MOCS. Fans can also buy tickets by visiting McKenzie Arena’s ticket office at Gate One. Season ticket prices begin at $75, and are just $50 for UTC employees, alumni, and youth. Lower level reserved seating is also available, but require a donation to the UTC Mocs Club. Lower level tickets are priced at $175, and $100 for university employees and alumni.

“We are not raising ticket prices, despite the increase in home games,” said Hart. “We have also worked hard to put together a number of packages to fit every budget,” he added, emphasizing the athletic department’s commitment to keep ticket prices affordable during these tough economic times.

The annual Dr. Pepper Classic, December 29-30, looks to be especially strong this year, featuring Morgan State, who appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. Eastern Kentucky and Long Island will also be included in the tournament field.

Another intriguing matchup in the early season is that with instate rival East Tennessee State University, who will face the Mocs November 17 at McKenzie Arena. Other notable non-conference opponents for UTC include Missouri, Richmond, Jacksonville State, and Murray State.

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

As the Mocs prepare to defend their Southern Conference Championship from a year ago, head coach John Shulman is cautiously optimistic, but far from over confident. “I really like this team and its potential,” but added, “Potential is a nasty, nasty word. You’d like to have a lot of known commodities. There is very little known about this team.”

Both the Men and Women’s Basketball teams will officially kick off their season Saturday, October 31 with the “Blue and Gold Tipoff” which has been moved to the First Tennessee Pavilion next to Finley Stadium. Activities will begin immediately following the football teams’ Moc Walk at 11:45 a.m. before their game against Western Carolina.

Home Schedule:

  • 11/13: Tennessee Wesleyan (Exb.)
  • 11/13: Virginia Intermont
  • 11/17: ETSU
  • 12/5: Elon
  • 12/12: Mississippi Valley State
  • 12/14: Georgia Tech
  • 12/21: Tennessee Temple
  • 12/29-12/30: Dr. Pepper Classic
  • 1/11: UNC Greensboro
  • 1/14: The Citadel
  • 1/16: College of Charleston
  • 1/28: Western Carolina
  • 1/30: Appalachian State
  • 2/10: Samford
  • 2/13: Furman
  • 2/22: Davidson