The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 early in the second half. They were up four, 55-51, when the Mocs went on a 12-1 run. Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) started it with a layup followed by eight straight from Bell. Dontay Hampton (Chattanooga, Tenn.) capped the run with two free throws to put UTC up 63-56 with 8:34 to play.
Raijon Kelly got Samford within four again, 66-62, with a pull-up jumper at 4:04. The Mocs responded scoring on three straight possessions. A Mason free throw was followed by Taylor's three-pointer and two Bell free throws to make it 72-62 just inside two minutes.
Kelly banked in a triple at 1:22 to make it a seven-point margin, but the Mocs were up to the task. They tallied eight unanswered points to take their largest advantage of 15, 82-67, on two Burroughs free throws with 50.9 to play. The Bulldogs would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Bell tied for game-high honors with Kelly scoring a season-high 21 points, all in the second half. Burroughs added a career-high 19 points with seven rebounds and three steals, also a new career best. Mason led the Mocs on the boards with 12.
Tyler Hood had 16 points for the Bulldogs, while Will Cook added 15 points and 11 boards. Drew Windler chipped in 13 points and two blocks.
The Mocs came out firing on all cylinders on Senior Night. They jumped out to a 13-2 behind the hot right hand of Wattad. He hit three three-pointers in the first three-plus minutes to fuel the early lead.
Samford chipped away at the UTC lead. It took its first lead, 30-27, on a Cook trey at 4:17. The Bulldogs out-scored the Mocs 21-5 over the final eight minutes of the first half to take a nine-point margin, 38-29, into intermission.
Wattad and Taylor played key roles in their final home games. Wattad had 11 points, while Taylor posted 10 with five rebounds and two steals.
It was truly a tale of two halves. The Bulldogs shot 48.4 percent to the Mocs struggled at a 38.5 percent clip. After the break, UTC nailed 54.8 percent while limiting Samford to 40.0 percent. Chattanooga's 57 second-half points is its most in a SoCon half since 58 in a 109-79 romp over Western Carolina on Jan. 24, 2004.
It's on to the SoCon Championship as tonight was the league's regular-season finale. The Mocs square off Friday, March 2, at 8:30 p.m., against Georgia Southern. Elon awaits that game's winner on Saturday. The rest of the bracket includes Davidson, Samford and Furman.
Listen to all the exciting play-by-play from "Voice of the Mocs" Jim Reynolds on ESPN 105.1 the Zone in Chattanooga, or world-wide on GoMocs.com. Follow @GoMocs on twitter for news, notes, stats and links to game notes, live stats and more.
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