DALLAS – Playing in his third NCAA Division I game, freshman guard Kameron Gibson finished with a career-high 34 points but a slow start hindered Western Carolina in a 98-65 loss at SMU on Wednesday inside Moody Coliseum.
SMU improves to 2-1 while Western Carolina drops to 0-3.
Gibson’s 34 points top his previous career-high of 10 points at Wright State on Nov. 7 as he is the first Catamount to eclipse the 30-point mark since Mike Brown scored 34 points against Wofford on March 5, 2016. The Cincinnati native finished 12-for-15 from the field and 8-for-11 from behind the 3-point line. Of Gibson’s 34 points, 22 came in the second half.
Jahmal McMurray scored 34 points to lead SMU followed by Jimmy White, Jr. with 14 points, Ethan Chargois with 12 points and Isiaha Mike with 10 points. Chargois posted a double-double thanks to a game-high 10 rebounds.
SMU opened the game on a 13-0 run before a Josh Cottrell 3-pointer got the Catamounts on the board at the 16:17 mark. After a McMurray layup gave the Mustangs a 25-8 lead, a Steger 3-pointer followed by a pair of Myers free throws brought the Catamounts within 14, 27-13, with 11:18 to play. SMU answered with six straight points and led 38-16 with just under seven minutes remaining. Gibson’s 3-pointer at the 3:05 mark made the score 44-28 and he also made the final basket of the half on a layup with 13 seconds left for a 52-32 halftime score.
The Mustangs opened the second half on a 6-2 run, claiming a 58-34 lead following a McMurray 3-pointer at the 18:03 mark. Gibson sank 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to make the score 60-40 with 16:41 to play. SMU responded with a 9-0 run as a Chargois layup gave the hosts a 69-40 lead with 14:30 remaining. Gibson made 3-pointers on three straight Catamount possessions for a 78-53 score at the 7:29 mark. Gibson surpassed the 30-point mark on a layup with 7:00 to play and hit a 3-pointer with 6:05 remaining for his final points of the game. Steger’s free throws with 44 seconds remaining served as the final points of the contest.
SMU outscored the Catamounts 42-16 in the paint. The Mustangs held a 42-23 rebounding advantage. SMU went 37-for-66 (56.1 percent) from the field while Western Carolina finished the game 21-for-51 (41.2 percent) from the field.
Western Carolina returns to the Ramsey Center on Saturday, hosting Hiwassee at 4 p.m.