CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Carlos Dotson and Kameron Gibson each finished with 17 points but a 17-2 UNCG run over the final five minutes of the second half propelled the Spartans to a 69-60 win over Western Carolina on Thursday evening at the Ramsey Center.
UNCG improves to 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the Southern Conference while Western Carolina drops to 5-15 and 2-5.
Dotson tallied his eighth double-double of the year with 17 points and 11 rebounds, going 8-for-10 from the field. Gibson finished in double figures for the second straight game and 10th time this year as he went 8-for-14 from the field. Marcus Thomas dished out a team-leading three assists.
Francis Alonso had a game-high 20 points to lead UNCG. Isaiah Miller tallied 15 points while James Dickey just missed a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds. Demetrius Troy had seven assists.
UNCG scored the first four points of the game before the Catamounts evened the score on a Thomas layup at the 17:06 mark. The Spartans led 9-4 after an Eric Hamilton layup before the Catamounts tied the game at 11 on a Dotson layup with just over 12 minutes remaining. Thomas’ free throws gave the Catamounts an 18-17 advantage at the 7:02 mark. UNCG answered with a 10-2 run, claiming a 27-19 lead following a Hamilton layup with 3:55 left. The Spartans lead remained between six and eight points for the rest of the half as a Dotson basket with 36 seconds remaining sent the Catamounts into halftime down six, 33-27.
The Catamounts opened the second half on an 8-2 run, tying the game at 35 on an Adam Sledd layup at the 16:34 mark. Gibson gave the hosts a 43-38 edge with 13:24 remaining only to see the Spartans tie the game at 46 with a Troy layup with just shy of 11 minutes to play. WCU answered with a Thomas jumper and took a 58-52 lead following two Steger free throws at the 5:27 mark.
Dickey’s jumper on the next Spartan possession began their run as Kyrin Galloway’s 3-pointer at the 3:59 mark gave the visitors a 59-58 advantage. UNCG pushed its lead to 63-58 before a Sledd bucket brought the Catamounts within three, 63-60 with 1:53 to play. UNCG countered with a Miller jumper on their next possession and made free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
The Catamounts went 24-for-51 (47.1 percent) from the field while UNCG finished 36-fo-62 (40.3 percent). Neither team shot better than 23. 1 percent behind the 3-point line but the Spartans were 15-for-21 at the free throw line while the Catamounts converted nine of 17 free throws. UNCG held a slim 38-36 edge in rebounds.
Western Carolina travels to VMI on Saturday, facing the Keydets at 1 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN+ as well as on WYCW-62 in the Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg television market.