Chattanooga (13-7, 8-2 SoCon) shot a blistering 56 percent from the field behind Kevin Bridgewaters’ team-high 20 points. The Mocs’ interior players stymied Appalachian (12-7, 7-3 SoCon) all afternoon, outscoring ASU in the paint 36-18 and forcing the Mountaineers to take more than half of their shots from behind the three-point arc.
Appalachian’s big men also got in foul trouble early in the whistle-laden contest with Jeremy Clayton fouling out in just 11 minutes of action. Four other Mountaineers finished the game with four fouls.
Kellen Brand scored 17 points for the Mountaineers, followed by Donte Minter and Ryann Abraham with 13 points each.
ASU got off to a slow start and found itself down 13-5 in the first six minutes of the game before a trio of three pointers from Jeremi Booth, Abraham and Sims tied the game at 16-16 with 10:35 left in the opening half. However, the home squad quickly regained control of the contest and ran out to a 7-point lead courtesy of a 7-1 run with just under six minutes of the clock. The Mocs added to that advantage to carry a 44-34 lead into the locker room.
The Mountaineers appeared poised to make a run to open the second half with a 12-4 spurt to pull within two points, 48-46, four minutes into the stanza. Unfortunately, the Mocs answered by stretching the lead out to 11 over the next 6:19 on a Nicchaeus Doaks dunk with 9:41 left. Appalachian would pull within 10 points three times over the remainder of the contest, but UTC answered each time to earn a split in the season series with the 89-77 win. The victory also gives UTC sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference North Division..
The Mountaineers will have little time to contemplate the loss as they’ll return to Boone late Saturday night to prepare for Monday’s home game against Elon. Tipoff between the Apps and Phoenix is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Holmes Center.