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Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina sophomore guard Matt Halvorsen scored a career-high 26 points as the Catamounts cruised past Hiwassee 94-55 on Saturday afternoon at the Ramsey Center.

Western Carolina improves to 1-3 while Hiwassee drops to 5-4.

Halvorsen’s 26-point performance surpassed his previous career-high of 21 points against Samford on Jan. 6, 2018. The Kingsport, Tenn. native was 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-8 from the field. Marcus Thomas had a season-high 17 points. Josh Cottrell had a career-high 12 points as he was 4-for-7 from the field. Onno Steger finished in double figures for the third straight game with 11 points. Carlos Dotson had his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Bryant Bernard led the Tigers with 17 points. Jamesio Rhine and Jacqun Brown each had five rebounds.

Hiwassee opened the game with a pair of field goals before a Steger layup tied the game with just under 17 minutes left. The teams traded the lead three times until a Thomas layup evened the score at nine with 13:32 to play. A Sledd layup sparked a 10-0 run as the Catamounts led 19-9 with 8:29 remaining. The Tigers answered with a 12-6 run as a pair of Bernard free throws made the score 25-21 with 4:51 to play. Western Carolina closed out the half on a 17-2 run as a pair of Dotson free throws with less than a second left sent the Catamounts into halftime with a 42-23 lead.

A Steger 3-pointer at the 18:04 mark of the second half pushed the Catamount lead to 20, 47-27. A Brown jumper brought the Tigers within 16, 51-35, at the 13:50 mark. Following three Bernard free throws to make the score 57-41 at the 12:10 mark, Western Carolina went on a 15-1 run capped by a Cottrell 3-pointer at the 8:11 mark for a 72-42 advantage. A Smith layup with 1:29 remaining gave the Catamounts a game-high 42-point lead, 92-50. The Tigers capped the scoring with 11 seconds remaining thanks to a Bernard layup.

Western Carolina finished 27-for-51 (52.9 percent) from the field and 11-for-25 (44 percent) from behind the 3-point line. Hiwassee finished 15-for-56 (25.9 percent) from the field and 2-for-19 (10.9 percent) from behind the arc.

WCU returns to action on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. against Jacksonville State in Cancun, Mexico as part of the Cancun Challenge.

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