Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina had five players finish in double figures as the Catamounts won their second straight home contest with a 77-65 triumph over Jacksonville in the Ramsey Center on Saturday afternoon.
WCU improves to 2-5 while Jacksonville falls to 3-5.
Kameron Gibson led the Catamounts with 19 points, followed by Carlos Dotson and Matt Halvorsen both with 13, Marcus Thomas with 11 and Onno Steger with 10. It marked the second straight Saturday that five Western Carolina players finished in double figures as the Catamounts also accomplished the feat last week against Hiwassee. Dotson grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Halvorsen tied a career-high with four assists.
JD Notae led the Dolphins with 19 points as Jace Hogan finished with 16 points and DeAnthony McCallum scored 11 points off the bench. Notae had a team-leading eight rebounds. Jalyn Hinton had two of Jacksonville’s four blocks on the afternoon.
Both teams struggled to gain separation in the early stages of the first half as the largest lead enjoyed by either team was five points. With Western Carolina holding a 24-19 advantage with just under eight minutes remaining in the frame, an Adam Sledd layup ignited a 10-2 run as the Catamounts enjoyed a 36-21 lead following a Halvorsen 3-pointer at the 4:41 mark. The 15-point advantage was the largest for the Catamounts in the game. WCU led by double figures for the remainder of the first half and took a 41-28 lead into halftime.
A pair of Hogan free throws trimmed the WCU advantage to eight, 45-37, at the 16:39 mark of the second half. Western Carolina pushed its lead back to 15 on a Gibson layup with just over 14 minutes left. After a Thomas basket gave the hosts a 60-48 lead at the 9:27 mark, Jacksonville went on an 8-2 run to trim the WCU lead to 62-56 with 7:30 remaining. Western Carolina answered with an 8-2 run of its own for a 70-52 lead following a Dotson free throw with just over four minutes left. The Catamounts led by no fewer than eight points down the stretch to earn the second victory of the 2018-19 season.
Western Carolina went 29-for-55 from the field for a 52.7 shooting percentage, their second-highest of the season. Jacksonville finished 22-for-59 from the field for a 37.3 shooting percentage. The Catamounts outrebounded the Dolphins 36-34.
The Catamounts travel to Wake Forest on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.