Jan. 5, 2013
Charleston, S.C. -
Four Catamounts scored in double figures including the first career double-double effort of junior Preston Ross as Western Carolina picked up its third Southern Conference victory of the season, defeating The Citadel, 72-55, Saturday night at McAlister Field House.
Ross finished with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench for the Catamounts who were paced by the 17-point performance by redshirt junior Trey Sumler. Classmate Tom Tankelewicz scored 14 points including four 3-pointers with Brandon Boggs chipping in 10 points
Junior Tawaski King tallied nine points and six rebounds for the Catamounts. But perhaps his biggest contribution came on the defensive end. With help from his teammates, King and WCU limited Bulldog senior Mike Groselle - who entered the game seventh in the SoCon in scoring (15.0 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.8 rpg) - to just eight points and two rebounds.
Relegated to its eighth-straight defeat, The Citadel (3-9, 0-2 SoCon) put two in double figures as both Marshall Harris III and P.J. Horgan scored 10 points apiece.
Western Carolina (5-9, 3-0 SoCon) trailed twice in the opening 20 minutes, but pulled out to its largest lead at 13 in the final minute of the half before carrying an 11-point, 36-25, edge into the halftime locker room.
In the second half, The Citadel whittled the WCU advantage down to six on three separate occasions, but was unable to get any closer. The third and final time came on a banked-in 3-pointer by Marshall Harris III with 6:33 remaining in regulation, trimming the Catamount advantage to 49-43. However, Tankelewicz answered with a triple of his own at the other end to push the margin back to nine.
With WCU leading by seven, 52-45, at the six minute mark, the Catamounts outscored The Citadel 18-to-6 over the next five minutes to take a game-high lead of 19 points on a 3-pointer by freshman Mike Brown
. Horgan hit two free throws in the closing seconds to provide the final margin, a 17-point WCU victory.
The Catamounts converted 16 Bulldog turnovers into 16 points, and won the battle of the boards, 35-to-24. WCU finished with 18 offensive rebounds - matching its second-best performance of the season - converting them into 17 second-chance points.
Western Carolina steps out of conference on Monday night, hosting host Warren Wilson to tip-off its longest home stand of the season to date. The Catamounts and Owls square-off for just the second time ever, Jan. 7 in the Ramsey Center with a 7:00 pm tip-off.
Western Carolina at The Citadel - Post-Game Notes:
- With the win, Western Carolina halts a three-game seasonal slide, scoring its first victory since December 8, 2012 - a home victory over archrival Appalachian State ... WCU also ended a four-game road losing skid against The Citadel, winning at the McAlister Field House for the first time since February of 2007;
- WCU matched its longest win streak against The Citadel at three games with Saturday night's victory ... the Catamounts won for just the ninth time all-time in Charleston (9-21);
- Western Carolina improved to 3-0 to start the Southern Conference schedule ... it is just the fourth time since joining the league in 1977-78 that the Catamounts have won their first three games of a season ... It is also the first time since 2008-09 that WCU has started 3-0 in league play;
- Junior post Preston Ross recorded his first career double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down a career-high 10 rebounds ... it is just the second double-double by a Catamount this season as Tawaski King posted the only other one in the season opener at UNC Asheville;
- Redshirt junior Trey Sumler scored 17 points to give him 1,087 for his WCU career ... Sumler moved into 33rd all-time on the Catamount career scoring ledgers, by-passing Bennie Goettie (1,078 points from 1988-89) and Lee Gibbs (1,082 points from 1974-76).