Furman (6-17, 3-9) at Chattanooga (10-15, 5-7)
Thursday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m. ET
McKenzie Arena (10,928) • Chattanooga, Tenn.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Chattanooga leads, 47-25
Probable Furman Starters
G-Charlie Reddick, 605, 185, JR (9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F-Colin Reddick, 6-9, 240, SR (12.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, .519 FG%)
F-Kendrec Ferrara, 6-9, 225, FR (6.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
G-Stephen Croone, 6-1, 170, FR (9.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.7 rpg, 1.2 spg)
G-Larry Wideman, 6-4, 190, FR (7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, .378 3P%)
Key reserves: Bobby Austin (6-3, 200, SR); Bryant Irwin (6-7, 220, SR); Jordan Lloyd (6-3, 190, SO).
Probable Chattanooga Starters
F-Lance Stokes, 6-6, 217, SO (3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, .444 FG%)
F-Z. Mason, 6-5, 238, JR (14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
C-Drazen Zlovaric, 6-9, 220, SR (9.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, .524 FG%)
G-Ronrico White, 6-3, 170, SO (9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.1 spg)
G-Gee McGhee, 6-5, 200, FR (11.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg)
Key reserves: Martynas Bareika (6-4, 208, SO); Jared Bryant (6-7, 240, SO); Farad Cobb (6-0, 160, FR); Sam Watson (6-6, 245, JR); Casey Jones (6-5, 185, FR).
The opening tip
Chattanooga concludes its four-game home stand when it welcomes Southern Conference South Division foe Furman to McKenzie Arena on Thursday evening.
The Mocs, who've won two of their last three, edged Samford in overtime on Monday, and they’re looking to capture consecutive victories for the first time in more than a month. Freshman Casey Jones will also be making his return to the lineup Thursday against the Paladins.
Jones, who started the first 11 games for UTC, hasn’t suited up since fracturing a bone in his knee early in the second half of Chattanooga’s 108-78 win over NAIA school Reinhardt on Dec. 21. Jones, who has missed the last 14 games, probably won’t play a whole lot Thursday—coach John Shulman said he'd slowly work him back into the rotation—but there’s plenty of time for the 6-5, 185-pounder to get back in the swing of things before the postseason.
The Paladins are currently fifth in the SoCon South standings, and they’ve dropped four straight, including a 23-point home loss to UNC Greensboro last Thursday. They held a 17-point, second-half advantage over the visiting Citadel on Feb. 2, but ended up losing the game 84-79.
Furman hasn’t won since.
Senior Colin Reddick is the team’s leading scorer (12.7 ppg) and rebounder (6.4 rpg), and his twin brother Charlie Reddick (9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg), who scored a career-high 26 in the loss to the Bulldogs, is also one of the team’s top contributors. Charlie injured himself in Monday’s 72-66 loss at Appalachian State, though, and he’s doubtful for Thursday.
Freshman Stephen Croone (9.7 ppg) has also been playing big for Furman, and with his 20-point performance against the Mountaineers on Monday, he’s now reached double-figures in seven straight games. The 6-1 guard from Covington, Ga., isn’t just a scoring threat, either. He's getting others involved as well. Croone is third in the SoCon at 4.7 assists per game.
Freshman Casey Jones on being injured: “I wasn’t playing good (when I was injured), and I got an opportunity to see everything; see college basketball. It’s like watching film for a month without playing; watching live film. I’ve watched a lot of film so I’m ready to get back out there.”
Monday will be the 73rd meeting in a series that dates back to 1921-22. The Mocs hold a 47-25 series advantage, but they’ve dropped five of their last six against the Paladins. Their last win over Furman was at McKenzie Arena on Feb. 13, 2011. ... Chattanooga leads the SoCon in rebounding (38.0 rpg) and offensive rebound percentage (.361 percent), while UTC is second in rebounding margin (+4.3). ... Mocs freshman Gee McGhee has scored 12 or more in seven straight games, including a career-high 22 in the team’s 89-76 win over The Citadel on Saturday. ... UTC senior Drazen Zlovaric has averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds over the last four games, and the 6-9 center in shooting 65.9 percent from field during that stretch. ... Coach Jeff Jackson has compiled an 84-124 record in seven seasons at Furman, and he’s 106-184 in 10 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Jackson has a 7-4 record against Chattanooga—3-3 at McKenzie Arena.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.