The Citadel (6-15, 3-8) at Chattanooga (8-14, 3-6)
Thursday, Feb. 7, 7:00 p.m. ET
McKenzie Arena (10,928) • Chattanooga, Tenn.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Chattanooga leads 55-16
Probable Citadel Starters
F-Matt Van Scyoc, 6-6, 218, FR (11.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .426 FG% )
F-P.J. Hogan, 6-8, 220, SO (9.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg)
C-Mike Groselle, 6-8, 244, SR (15.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, .581 FG%)
G-Marshall Harris III, 6-1, 180, SO (6.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.9 rpg)
G-Ashton Moore, 6-0, 172, SO (6.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
Key reserves: Stephen Elmore (6-6, 220, SR); Raemond Robinson (6-3, 190, FR); Dylan Setzekorn (6-7, 195, FR).
Probable Chattanooga Staters
F-Lance Stokes, 6-6, 217, SO (3.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
F-Z. Mason, 6-5, 238, JR (14.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg)
C-Drazen Zlovaric, 6-9, 220, SR (8.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, .490 FG%)
G-Ronrico White, 6-3, 170, SO (9.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.7 apg)
G-Gee McGhee, 6-5, 200, FR (10.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg)
Key reserves: Martynas Bareika (6-4, 208, SO); Jared Bryant (6-7, 240, SO); Farad Cobb (6-0, 160, FR); Sam Watson (6-7, 245, JR).
The opening tip
Chattanooga looks to halt a four-game losing streak when it takes the court on Thursday evening against The Citadel. UTC has suffered three straight losses on the road, including last Saturday’s two-point defeat at Georgia Southern after overcoming a 21-point deficit in the second half.
Thursday’s contest will be the first of four straight at McKenzie Arena for the Mocs, who close out the season with six of their final nine at home. Freshman Gee McGhee has scored in double-figures in each of the last four for Chattanooga, including a career-high 19 against the Eagles.
The Mocs’ current four-game skid has dropped them into dead last in the Southern Conference North Division, while the Bulldogs, winners of two straight, have finally climbed out of the South Division cellar.
The Citadel, which failed to win its first SoCon contest until Jan. 19, is coming off back-to-back conference wins over Wofford and Furman. Bulldogs senior Mike Groselle, who scored a team-high 19 points in his team’s 84-79 victory over the Paladins, is sixth in the SoCon in scoring (15.0 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.8 rpg).
The 6-8 center finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in the team’s first meeting with the Mocs, while freshman Matt Van Scyoc, the squad’s second-leading scorer (11.4 ppg), dropped a game-high 20 points in the Bulldogs’ 70-65 loss on Jan. 10.
Chattanooga coach John Shulman on McGhee’s recent play: “There’s some juniors that are hitting the wall; some seniors that are hitting the wall. There’s some freshmen that don’t even know what the wall is, and couldn’t care less about the wall. I don’t think (Gee McGhee) cares. I don’t think he cares that he’s a freshman, he doesn’t care if we’re playing at Kansas, he doesn’t care about our record; he just wants to play ball.”
The Mocs play five games in the span on 10 days starting with Thursday’s showdown with The Citadel. ... UTC leads the SoCon in rebounds per game (38.5) and offensive rebound percentage (.359), while ranking second in rebounding margin (+4.0). Chattanooga has outrebounded opponents by 10 or more on seven occasions this season. ... The Mocs are 10th in the league in free-throw percentage (67.0 percent), but the team has excelled from the stripe at the end of games. Junior Z. Mason is 28 of 31 (90.3 percent) from the line in the final four minutes, while sophomore Ronrico White isn’t far behind — 37 of 41 (90.2 percent). McGhee knocked down 10 of 12 from the free-throw line in Saturday’s loss at GSU. ... Chuck Driesell is 22-61 in his third season at The Citadel. He’s 1-2 against UTC.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.