Chattanooga (6-9, 1-1) at The Citadel (3-9, 0-2)
Thursday, Jan. 10, 7:05 p.m. ET
McAlister Field House (6,000) • Charleston, S.C.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Chattanooga leads 54-16
Probable Chattanooga Starters
G-Ronrico White, 6-3, 170, SO (9.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.1 apg)
F-Z. Mason, 6-5, 238, JR (13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg, .510 FG)
C-Drazen Zlovaric, 6-9, 220, SR (8.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
G-Farad Cobb, 6-0, 160, FR (6.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 spg)
G-Gee McGhee, 6-5, 200, FR (10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Key reserves: Dontay Hampton (6-1, 176, SR); Jared Bryant (6-7, 240, SO); Martynas Bareika (6-4, 208, SO), Sam Watson (6-7, 245, JR)
Probable Citadel Starters
F-Matt Van Scyoc, 6-6, 220, FR (9.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, .361 3P%)
F-Stephen Elmore, 6-6, 220, SR (3.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
C-Mike Groselle, 6-8, 245, SR (14.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg)
G-Marshall Harris III, 6-1, 180, SO (5.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G-Ashton Moore, 6-0, 170, SO (7.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.8 apg)
Key reserves: Lawrence Miller (6-1, 185, SO); Dylen Setzekorn (6-7, 195, FR); C.J. Bray (6-7, 240, SO); Quinton Marshall (6-5, 205, FR)
The opening tip
As the Mocs travel to Charleston in search of their seventh and eighth victories of the season, they’ll finally have the services of fifth-year senior Dontay Hampton. Hampton, the victim of an unfortunate summertime ACL tear, was sidelined for the first 15 games of the season, but the 6-1 guard will make his long-awaited season debut Thursday night at The Citadel. Hampton won’t start for Chattanooga, at least not initially, but head coach John Shulman said he will play against the Bulldogs.
Things appear to finally be falling into place for the Mocs, who have won four of their last five, and Shulman is convinced that inserting Hampton into the lineup won’t disrupt the team’s momentum.
The Bulldogs are at the other end of the spectrum after 12 games this season. After winning three of its first four, The Citadel’s skid began with a 74-61 home loss to Radford, and it’s swelled to eight straight losses after Saturday’s 72-55 loss to SoCon foe Western Carolina.
As predicted prior to the season, senior Mike Groselle (14.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has been the one carrying the load for the Bulldogs, but the 6-8 center has been held to single figures in scoring and rebounding in two of the last three games. He was limited to a season-low eight points and three boards in his team’s loss to the Catamounts.
Chattanooga head coach John Shulman on his team’s upcoming trip to Charleston, S.C.: “All these swings are vital swings. You’re playing at two difficult places to play. At The Citadel you’ve got 400 cadets about 10 feet away from you, yelling and screaming and going crazy. Then you go to College of Charleston where you’ve got showtime going on. It's a difficult trip.”
Thursday will be Chattanooga’s 71st meeting with The Citadel, and the Mocs hold a 54-16 series advantage over the Bulldogs. They’re 8-2 in the last 10. ... UTC leads the SoCon in rebounding margin (+5.8), rebounds per game (38.7) and offensive rebound percentage (.370), while ranking second in defensive rebound percentage (.725). The Mocs have won the battle on the boards by 10 or more seven times this season. Their plus-21 at Kennesaw State is the highest margin against a Division I opponent, and they were plus-13 Saturday at Samford. ... Chuck Driesell, in his third season at The Citadel, has compiled a 19-55 record, and he’s 1-1 against Chattanooga. ... The Mocs and the Bulldogs share just one common opponent — Georgia Tech — which both teams lost to. In very different fashion, though. UTC suffered a 16-point defeat to the Yellow Jackets on Jan. 2, while The Citadel was blown away 73-41 on Dec. 22.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.