GAME NOTES: The conclusion of the Southern Conference regular season today will certainly have implications for the postseason tournament.
Chattanooga and Appalachian State, two teams battling each other this afternoon at Holmes Center, have a chance at the last first-round bye in the SoCon tourney, as does Samford.
Davidson, Elon and the College of Charleston have already secured the top three seeds.
If UTC is to claim the No. 4 seed, the Mocs will have to win today and have Samford lose at Western Carolina. In the worst-case scenario, the Mocs can fall to No. 8.
For Appalachian State, the situation is much easier...win and the Mountaineers are in as the No. 4 seed (No.2 in the SoCon North).
The Mocs will try for a season sweep of the Mountaineers after winning, 91-88, in overtime on Jan. 17. UTC has won its last two games overall, including an 81-72 triumph at Western Carolina on Thursday. Z. Mason scored 25 points to go along with a career-high 14 rebounds. Ronrico White netted 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, while Gee McGhee added 12 points.
Mason leads the team in scoring, while McGee is second and White third, but the Mocs have been hurt by poor free throw shooting this season. They are 10th in the SoCon at 67.1 percent. Additionally, the Mocs are shooting just 41.6 percent from the field, which is also 10th in the league. When shooting from 3-point range, the Mocs are dead last at 29.9 percent, but they're the best rebounding squad in the conference.
Appalachian State has been pushed to overtime the last two games, including a double-OT win against Samford on Thursday. Jamaal Trice led the way with 18 points. Tevin Baskin added 10 points. Nathan Healy leads the team in scoring at 14.4 ppg and rebounding (7.6 rpg), followed by Jay Canty (13.9) and Baskin (10.1), who comes off the bench. Tab Hamilton (9.5 ppg) is also part of the starting lineup. APSU is the third-best scoring team (71 ppg) in the conference, but the Mountaineers are giving up 72.7 ppg.
The Mountaineers should have beaten the Mocs on the road earlier this season, but they wasted a 19-point lead. They'll need great performances from the trio of Trice, Baskin and Healy to have a shot at a season-series split and a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Game Date and Time