GREENSBORO, N.C. (WRCB/UTC) - Derrell Armstrong scored 29 points to lead a 54-point effort from the UNC-Greensboro bench and the Spartans held off a late rally to beat Chattanooga 81-72 Thursday night.
The win is a season-high third straight for the surging Spartans, while the Mocs drop to 0-9 on the road.
"Our margin for error is not real big. It just is not. If we don't noticeably out-play Greensboro, we are not going to beat Greensboro," said UTC head coach John Shulman.
Except for a stretch early in the second half and another late, Chattanooga was unable to do just that.
After falling behind 37-31 at the break, UTC came out of the locker room with a 9-0 run to move in front. Trevis Simpson's 3-pointer at the 11:04 mark gave UNCG a 52-50 lead and sparked an 18-7 UNCG run that extended the advantage to as many as ten with 3:29 to play.
"UNCG was scrappy tonight," said Mocs' guard Ricky Taylor, who struggled early but finished with 18 points. "They fought really hard and got a lot of loose balls. At times the ball could have been in our hands, they just out-worked us.
The Mocs mounted a rally, ripping off eight straight points to claw within 72-70 with 1:36 to play, but the Spartans answered with nine straight to seal the win.
"We don't quit and battle back to a two-point game with under a minute to go. Then you have to think about every box out and free throw that we missed," Shulman said. "If we don't make all the little plays, important rebounds and box outs, we are not going to beat people.
"That doesn't mean that we can't. We can, but you have to make all the little plays. Every possession is the most important possession of the game."
Kyle Randall added 15 points, Aaron Brackett grabbed 11 boards and David Williams scored 10 points for the Spartans (5-14, 3-4 Southern Conference).
Omar Wattad led Chattanooga (9-11, 3-4) with 19 points, but senior point guard Keegan Bell continued to struggle. After hitting just 8-of-41 shots in Chattanooga's previous four games, Bell was just 1-for-4 against UNCG and had five turnovers to just three assists.
"They got after him and it was a physical basketball game," Shulman said of Bell's play. "I don't think he has to score, but if he doesn't score, then he needs to have eight or nine assists, which he was getting at one time.
"In league play, things just do not come as easy as they do in non-league play. Teams dissect you."
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.