CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Carlos Dotson posted his team-leading fifth double-double of the season, but Chattanooga used a 14-3 run down the stretch in the second half to earn a 73-62 win in Southern Conference action at the Ramsey Center on Thursday night.
Chattanooga improves to 7-9 overall and 2-1 in the Southern Conference while Western Carolina drops to 3-13 and 0-3.
Dotson scored a team-leading 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, two shy of a career high. Of Dotson’s 14 rebounds, eight came on the offensive glass. Dotson finished in double figures for the 12th time this season and third in his last four games. Matt Halvorsen posted double figures for the tenth time this year with 16 points and was a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Dotson and Halvorsen each dished out three assists.
Kevin Easley led the Mocs with a game-high 21 points, followed by David Jean-Baptiste with 13 and Ramon Villa with 10. Villa led the visitors with seven rebounds.
Vila opened the scoring on a layup at the 38-second mark before Kameron Gibson tied the contest 30 seconds later. Chattanooga pushed its advantage to 14-8 thanks to a Donovann Toatley 3-pointer before the Catamounts pulled to within one, 17-16, following a Halvorsen 3-pointer at the 8:45 mark. A.J. Caldwell stretched the Chattanooga advantage to a half-best seven points, 26-19, with just under five minutes to play. Halvorsen was fouled on a 3-point attempt with less than a second remaining in the period and made three free throws to send the Catamounts into halftime down by two, 32-30.
A Dotson layup at the 16:08 mark of the second half gave Western Carolina its first lead of the night, 39-38. The Catamounts led by as many as three points on two separate occasions before Chattanooga retook the lead, 44-43, on a 3-pointer by Easley with just over 11 minutes left. Thomas Smallwood gave the Mocs a 47-44 lead thanks to his jumper before Halvorsen sank two free throws and a Dotson block and fastbreak layup gave WCU a 48-47 advantage.
After Halvorsen completed a three-point play to tie the game at 53 with 7:53 remaining, Chattanooga went on a decisive 14-3 run capped by a Jean-Baptiste jumper for a 67-56 lead with 3:22 left. Onno Steger’s jumper at the 2:18 mark trimmed the deficit to 69-60 but the Catamounts got no closer the rest of the way.
Chattanooga finished the game 24-for-47 (51.1 percent) from the field. The Mocs were 7-for-10 from behind the 3-point line in the second half and made 10 of 14 free throw attempts during the period. Western Carolina made 20 of 51 shots (39.2 percent) from the field and was 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) from behind the arc during the game. The Catamounts held a 37-27 rebounding advantage.
Western Carolina hosts Samford on Saturday at 2 p.m.