ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Junior Carlos Dotson tied a career-high with 27 points and freshman Kameron Gibson added 23, but it wasn’t enough to push ninth-seeded Western Carolina past No. 8 VMI in a 96-83 loss to the Keydets in the first round of the 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Tournament presented by General Shale.

VMI improves to 10-21 while Western Carolina ends the season at 7-25.

Dotson tallied 27 points for the second-straight game as the Riverdale, Md. native went 9-for-16 from the field and made a career-high nine free throws out of 12 attempts. He posted his 13th double-double of the year with a game-high 13 rebounds. Gibson surpassed the 20-point mark for the second-straight game and sixth time this season thanks to an 8-for-15 mark from the field. Playing in his final collegiate game, senior Marc Gosselin tallied 10 points to finish in double figures for the 35th time in his career.

Bubba Parham led VMI with a game-high 41 points. Parham was 9-for-16 from the field, 6-for-8 behind the arc and 17-for-18 at the free throw line. Sarju Patel scored 22 points while Garrett Gilkeson finished in double figures with 12, adding a game-high four assists. 

The Keydets jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Catamounts used a 9-0 run to lead 12-7 at the under-16 media timeout. VMI evened the score at 14 thanks to a Parham jumper with 13:32 to play before the Catamounts tallied seven straight points for a 21-14 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining. The Keydets trimmed the Catamount lead to two, 25-23, after the second of two Tyler Creammer free throws and claimed a 29-28 advantage thanks to a Patel 3-pointer with 6:41 to go. WCU reclaimed the lead on its next possession and went ahead 39-33 on a Steger 3-pointer at the 3:25 mark. A Parham 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left sent the Keydets into halftime with a 41-39 lead.

A Gibson 3-pointer four seconds into the second half allowed the Catamounts to reclaim the lead. Following a Gosselin lay-up at the 18:53 mark that gave WCU a 46-45 lead, VMI scored five straight points to lead 53-48 with just under 16 minutes to go. Following a pair of Dotson free throws, VMI went on a 10-0 run to lead 63-50 at the 12:03 mark. Gibson led the Catamounts back with six straight points, four of which came at the free throw line as WCU trailed 63-56 near the midpoint of the half.  

A pair of Patel free throws pushed the Keydet lead to 72-60 with just under eight minutes remaining, but the Catamounts against pulled back within seven, 72-65, roughly two minutes later. A Parham 3-pointer with 3:53 left pushed the Keydet lead to 84-71 at the 3:53 mark. Dotson’s free throws with 1:40 to play trimmed the deficit to 86-79 but the Catamounts would get no closer.

VMI finished 28-for-58 (48.3 percent) from the field, 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) behind the 3-point line and 25-for-30 (83.3 percent) at the free throw line. Western Carolina went 29-for-67 (43.3 percent) from the field, 7-for-24 (29.2 percent) behind the arc and 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) at the charity stripe. VMI outrebounded the Catamounts 37-35.

Gosselin, a native of Lyon, France and WCU’s lone senior on the 2018-19 roster, completes his career with 127 games played and 101 starts, scoring 841 points and 699 rebounds.