Chattanooga (5-8) at Georgia Tech (9-2)
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m. ET
McCamish Pavilion (8,600) • Atlanta, Ga.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 14-2
Probable Chattanooga Starters
F-Ronrico White, 6-3, 170, SO (9.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 spg, 1.4 apg)
F-Z. Mason, 6-5, 238, JR (13.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
C-Drazen Zlovaric, 6-9, 220, SR (9.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, .515 FG)
G-Farad Cobb, 6-0, 160, FR (5-2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.4 apg)
G-Gee McGhee, 6-5, 200, FR (10.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.3 spg)
Key reserves: Martynas Bareika (6-4, 208, SO); Alex Bran (6-1, 170, FR); Jared Bryant (6-7, 240, SO); Sam Watson (6-7, 245, JR); Eric Robertson (6-4, 191, FR)
Probable Georgia Tech Starters
F-Marcus Georges-Hunt, 6-5, 218, FR (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, .448 FG)
F-Robert Carter Jr., 6-8, 245, FR (9.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
C-Daniel Miller, 6-11, 257, JR (6.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.4 bpg)
G-Mfon Udofia, 6-2, 195, SR (9.3 ppg, 3.6 apg, .424 3P)
G-Brandon Reed, 6-3, 182, JR (6.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.6 apg)
Key reserves: Kammeon Holsey (6-8, 231, JR); Stacey Poole Jr. (6-4, 286, SO); Chris Bolden (6-3, 209, FR); Jason Morris (6-5, 224, JR)
The opening tip
The Mocs hit the road for the first time since their Dec. 11 trip to LSU when they travel to Georgia Tech on Wednesday to take on the Yellow Jackets. UTC has since strung together three straight home victories since its 80-67 loss to the Tigers, and it looks to build the midseason momentum.
Chattanooga's Ronrico White (9.8 ppg) and Z. Mason (17.0 ppg) are starting to emerge as the team’s main offensive weapons after both scored career highs during last weekend’s Dr Pepper Classic. White, selected to the All-Tournament team, scored 21 in Friday’s 68-61 win over High Point, and the 6-3 sophomore has provided 22 assists in the last six games after dishing out just 14 through the team’s first seven.
Mason scored a career-high 26 points and brought down 13 rebounds in the Mocs’ 76-69 victory over Utah Valley on Saturday. The 6-5 junior, who received the tournament MVP award, averaged 20.5 points and 11 rebounds in the two-game stretch, while setting new career highs in free-throws made (9) and attempted (12) on Saturday.
Georgia Tech, which has just two losses this season, hasn’t been beaten since the team’s Nov. 28 trip to No. 11 Illinois. The Yellow Jackets, who also fell to California in the DirectTV Classic in Anaheim, Ca., on Nov. 24, have strung together five straight victories, winning their last three over Alabama State, The Citadel and Fordham by 34, 32 and 25.
The Jackets have just one player averaging in double figures as freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt leads the team’s balanced attack, which averages a modest 65.9 points per contest. Tech has been stingy on the defensive end, though. It's fifth in the country in scoring defense (53.1 ppg), and has held its opponents to just 34.5 percent shooting from the field, good enough for No. 3 in the nation. 6-11 junior Daniel Miller is averaging over two blocks per game, while freshman Robert Carter Jr. leads the team on the glass (6.4 rpg), and is second in scoring (9.7 ppg).
Head coach John Shulman on the upcoming trip to Georgia Tech: “They’re really, really good; really talented and really long. We’re not going down there to collect the check, we’re going down there to win the game. We need to continue building confidence, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Chattanooga is 2-14 overall against Georgia Tech and 0-8 when playing in Atlanta. The Mocs won two of the first three games in the series, which dates back to the 1919-20 season, but have since loss 13 straight to the Jackets. Wednesday will be the third meeting between the two schools in the last four years. ... Georgia Tech is 7-0 in the new McCamish Pavillion, which opened in October of 2012. ... Brian Gregory is 20-22 in his second season in Atlanta, and he's compiled a 192-116 record in ten seasons as a head coach. Before arriving at Tech, Gregory was the head coach at Dayton, where he went 172-94 in eight seasons. ... UTC is 6-25 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, and its last win over an ACC opponent came in the 1985 National Invitational Tournament when the Mocs took down Clemson in overtime. Chattanooga defeated Virginia Tech 84-70 at home in 2000, though the Hokies were still a member of the Big East at the time.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.