CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia coach Tubby Smith looked under the hood. He even kicked the tires and tinkered with the timing.
But for much of its 73-70 loss to UT-Chattanooga, Georgia sputtered like an old jalopy in need of a tune-up.
"We've got to have everybody hitting on all cylinders to be effective," Smith said.
The pistons misfired Friday afternoon, transforming the Bulldogs into a clunker and rendering their offense a clanker.
Michael Chadwick and Derrick Dukes, two of Georgia's more explosive offensive weapons, fired blanks against Chattanooga. Each shot 1-for-7 from the field against the Moccasins' pesky man-to-man defense.
Chadwick, who aggravated a sprained ankle and a torn tendon in his left ring finger during the Southeastern Conference Tournament, scored just four points in his last three games. And while those injuries may have factored into his uncharacteristic absence from the scoring column, the 6-foot-4 sophomore from Phenix City, Ala., chose to turn the blame inward.
"I don't think the injuries were a factor," said Chadwick, who had three turnovers and missed his four second half field goal attempts. "The problem, I think, was mostly mental. I was trying to do too much early. I had a couple turnovers and got called for a couple travels.
"It was like what Ray (Harrison) went through early in the season. He was in a shooting slump for a little while. This time it was my turn."
Dukes, who had been instant offense for the Bulldogs in recent games, missed all three of his 3-point attempts and rarely received an open look at the basket.
"It seemed like all game we were just trying to cut the score and maintain our confidence," Dukes said. "The SEC Tournament took a lot out of us, but it's not an excuse."
Georgia's offensive woes were exacerbated by a Chattanooga team that shot 54.3 percent from the field, marking just the fourth time an opponent hit better than half its shots against the Bulldogs this season. The Mocs scored on their first eight offensive possessions, building a 20-2 lead in the first five minutes and forcing the Bulldogs to play Wile E. Coyote to their Roadrunner.
"The important thing was getting off to a good start," said Chattanooga coach Mack McCarthy, whose teams are 92-1 when they shoot better than 50 percent from the field. "That's been our problem in previous games."
The Mocs finished the game in the same fashion they began it. Georgia cut Chattanooga's lead to 70-69 with a minute remaining, but Mocs guard Willie Young connected on a double-clutch scoop shot in the lane with 51 seconds remaining.
After a free throw by Georgia guard Ray Harrison closed the gap to 72-70, Chattanooga forward Marquis Collier rebounded a missed layup by Young and made a free throw with 10.4 seconds left in regulation to help seal the upset.
"On the offensive rebound, it was determination," said Collier, who had five points and four rebounds. "I wanted that rebound."
Collier and his teammates also craved something else in addition to that last offensive rebound.
"We feel this win will give us some respect," Young said. "Building up to the game, nobody was talking much about Chattanooga."
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