Asheville, N.C. – A 16-0 run in the early stages of the first half got Western Carolina off to a fast start as the Catamounts defeated UNC Asheville 71-59 at Kimmel Arena on Saturday afternoon. This is the second straight win for WCU over UNC Asheville and seventh in the last 10 meetings.
Western Carolina improves to 3-8 overall while UNC Asheville falls to 1-8.
Kameron Gibson had a team-leading 15 points followed by Matt Halvorsen with 13. Marc Gosselin finished in double figures for the 30th time in his career with 13 points and dished out a career-high five assists. Onno Steger finished in double figures with 10 points. Carlos Dotson just missed a double-double with eight points and a team-best nine rebounds.
Coty Jude had a game-high 18 points to lead UNC Asheville. DeVon Baker and Taijon Jones each had 14 points.
UNC Asheville opened the scoring with a Jeremy Peck layup 29 seconds into the game before the Catamounts answered with a 16-0 run capped by a Halvorsen 3-pointer at the 12:35 mark. UNC Asheville trimmed the Catamount advantage to 10 as WCU went over five minutes between baskets before a Steger 3-pointer with 7:28 remaining. After the Catamounts enjoyed a 26-10 lead following a Steger 3-pointer at the 4:49 mark, UNC Asheville trimmed the WCU lead to 10, 31-21, with a pair of Baker free throws with 3:16 to play. The Catamounts closed the half on a 10-0 run for a 41-21 halftime lead.
Baker completed the three-point play 90 seconds into the second half to bring the Bulldogs within 19 before layups by Gosselin and Steger pushed the Catamount lead to 48-25. The Bulldogs went on a 7-1 run as a Baker layup brought the hosts within 17, 49-32, with 14:12 remaining. WCU responded with six straight points to lead 55-32 at the midway point of the second half. Gibson gave the Catamounts a game-high 25-point lead, 62-37, with 8:28 to play. WCU led 67-47 before a Jude 3-pointer opened a 10-2 run that brought the Bulldogs within 12 following a Baker 3-pointer with just over one minute left. Western Carolina sealed the win with a Dotson layup on its next possession.
The Catamounts outrebounded UNC Asheville 37-27. Western Carolina finished 24-for-49 (49 percent) from the field for the game including a 15-for-30 (50 percent) performance in the first half. WCU converted nine of 22 3-point attempts (40.9 percent) on the afternoon and made 14 of 20 free throw attempts (70 percent). UNC Asheville finished 21-for-55 (38.2 percent) from the field.
Western Carolina returns to action on Dec. 15 as the Catamounts travel to High Point for a 7 p.m. tip-off.