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Second Half Run Pushes Catamounts Past Warren Wilson, 78-53

Jan. 7, 2013

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina shook off a sluggish start Monday night, capitalizing on a 17-to-2 second half run to pull away from upset-minded Warren Wilson College to score the 78-53 nonconference victory in the Ramsey Center.

Three Catamounts reached double figures led by 18 points from redshirt junior Trey Sumler in earning their second-straight victory. Redshirt junior guard Tom Tankelewicz sank three 3-pointers as a part of scoring 11 points, matched by sophomore James Sinclair who scored 11 points and dished out a team-high four assists.

All 14 Catamount players got into the game with all but one recording points in the victory. Three players recorded their career highs in scoring as freshman Rhett Harrelson scored six with classmates Brandon Littlejohn and Torrion Brummitt scoring four apiece.

"I give Warren Wilson all kinds of credit. They came in with a lot of energy and we had to work," said WCU head coach Larry Hunter during post-game comments on the Catamount Sports Network. "My focus in the second half was trying to find five guys out there that were competing. We had a couple guys that weren't real focused, but once we found a group we played well."

After trailing the Owls by five points midway through first half, the Catamounts (6-9) closed the first half by outscoring Warren Wilson 16-to-5, but only managed a five-point lead at intermission, 30-25. Ty Johnson buried a 3-pointer out of the halftime locker room to pull Warren Wilson to within two, 30-28, but that was as close as the Owls would get.

Ahead by just seven points, 45-38, at the 11:46 mark, the Catamounts scored 13-straight points as a part of the 17-to-2 run that spanned nearly five minutes and ended with WCU ahead, 62-40. Tyler Triplett connected on a jumper for the Owls to pull the visitors back to within 18 points, 64-46, with just under six minutes remaining, but the Catamounts outscored Warren Wilson 14-to-7 down the stretch to provide the final tally.

Warren Wilson likewise put three in double figures, led by Triplett who shot 5-of-8 off the bench. The Owls got 11 points from both Rashad Ali and Ty Johnson, with Ali pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.

The Catamounts shot 47.5-percent (28-of-59) from the floor thanks to a 58-percent shooting effort in the second half. WCU scored 25 points off of 23 Warren Wilson turnovers, while also outrebounding the under-sized Owls, 40-to-29.

Western Carolina remains at home for back-to-back divisional Southern Conference games in the Ramsey Center, beginning with Saturday's meeting with North Division favorite, UNC Greensboro, before hosting Elon on Monday night. Tip-off on Saturday is scheduled for 2:00 pm.

Western Carolina vs. Warren Wilson - Post-Game Notes:
- Western Carolina won its second-straight game on the season, improving to 6-9 overall ... the Catamounts also remained perfect against Warren Wilson taking the second meeting all-time;

- Western Carolina has won 49 of their last 59 (.831) home games including 32 of the last 39 (.821) Southern Conference games in Cullowhee ... Over the past three seasons, WCU is 47-10 (.825) at home ... During Larry Hunter's tenure, the Catamounts are 70-24 (.745) inside the Ramsey Center;

- Western Carolina has secured victories in 17 of the last 21 home meetings with non-league teams ... Since 2003, WCU is 34-7 (.829) against non-conference foes in Ramsey ... Under head coach Larry Hunter, the Catamounts are 24-6 (.800) in home games against non-SoCon foes.

- Redshirt junior Trey Sumler scored 18 points to move to 1,105 for his Catamount career, moving into 32nd all-time in program history ... Sumler by-passed Howard Wilson, who scored 1,102 points for the Purple & Gold from 1971-73.