CHARLESTON, S.C. – Western Carolina had a season-high six players finish in double figures as the Catamounts defeated The Citadel 94-82 on Saturday afternoon at McAllister Field House.
Western Carolina improves to 5-14 overall and 2-4 in the Southern Conference. The Citadel drops to 9-7 and 1-4.
WCU’s 94-point output tied a season-high. Kameron Gibson and Matt Halvorsen both finished with 16 points. Gibson was 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-7 behind the arc while Halvorsen converted eight of nine free throw attempts and also had a team-best five assists. Onno Steger had 14 points. Josh Cottrell, Adam Sledd and Marcus Thomas each finished with 11 points. Saturday’s game marked the first time that the Catamounts have had six players finish in double figures since nine players finished in double figures against Toccoa Falls on Jan. 17, 2012. Carlos Dotson grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
Lew Stallworth led The Citadel with a game-high 32 points. Stallworth narrowly missed out on a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. Zane Najdawl had 20 points while Hayden Brown had 16 points off the bench.
The Catamounts opened the game on a 14-4 run capped by a Gibson layup at the 14:14 mark. Following an Alex Reed free throw that made the score 17-7, a pair of Halvorsen free throws and a Cottrell 3-pointer extended the WCU lead to 22-7 at the under-12 media timeout. Marc Gosselin’s layup at the 10:20 mark gave the Catamounts a 27-8 lead. The Citadel went on a 6-0 run to trim the Catamount lead to 27-14 following a pair of Kaiden Rice free throws at the 9:21 mark.
Western Carolina’s lead oscillated between 13 and 15 points for the next five-plus minutes until a Stallworth layup with 3:15 remaining brought the hosts within 11 points, 35-24. The Catamounts answered with 3-pointers by Halvorsen and Gibson to push the lead back to 17 points, 44-27. The Citadel cut the lead to nine points before three free throws gave WCU a 47-35 halftime lead.
Stallworth’s free throws eight seconds into the second half began a 13-3 run for the Bulldogs as they cut the Catamount lead to 50-48 after a Connor Kern 3-pointer at the 16:28 mark. Sledd and Thomas each completed a three-point play on consecutive possessions followed by a Halvorsen 3-pointer for a 61-50 lead with 13 minutes remaining. A pair of Sledd layups followed by a Steger 3-pointer extended the Catamount lead to 18, 71-53, at the 8:59 mark. The Citadel trimmed the Catamount advantage to nine, 81-72, with 5:17 remaining but Sledd answered the challenge with layups on consecutive possessions as Western Carolina led by no fewer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Western Carolina finished 31-for-58 (53.4 percent) from the field, 12-for-29 (41.4 percent) on 3-point attempts and 20-for-24 at the free throw line. The Citadel was 28-for-79 (35.4 percent) from the field, 6-for-43 (14.0 percent) on 3-point attempts and 20-for-27 (74.1 percent) at the free throw line. Western Carolina held a 50-33 edge in rebounds including a 42-20 advantage on the defensive glass.
Western Carolina hosts UNCG on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.