Jan. 19, 2013
Chattanooga, Tenn. - Four Catamounts scored in double figures paced by the double-double effort of redshirt junior Trey Sumler as Western Carolina scored a rare road victory over the Chattanooga Mocs, 90-81, Saturday night at the McKenzie Arena.
WCU (8-11, 5-2 SoCon) was able to build a 16-point second half advantage and withstood numerous runs by Chattanooga (8-11, 3-3 SoCon) down the stretch to score the program's first road victory in the series since 2007 - and just the third tally all-time over the Mocs at the McKenzie Arena.
Sumler and classmate Tom Tankelewicz led the Catamount quartet of double-digit scorers, both eclipsing the 20-point plateau. Sumler led all scorers with 25 points to go with 12 assists, four rebounds and four steals. Tankelewicz scored all 21 of his points from beyond the arc, sinking a career-best seven 3-pointers.
Juniors Brandon Boggs and Tawaski King had 19 and 18 points, respectively, in the road victory which snapped a two-game slide for WCU.
All told, the four juniors combined for all but seven of WCU's 90 points. As a team, the Catamounts shot a blistering 53.4 percent (31-58) including 12-of-22 (54.5%) from beyond the arc. WCU also shot well from the free throw making 84.2 percent (16-19) hitting all eight attempts in the last three-plus minutes of the contest.
Western Carolina scored 48 points in the opening half and built on that momentum out of the halftime locker room. After UTC's Farad Cobb hit a trey to pull the Mocs with six, 48-42, WCU erupted for a 14-to-4 run. Boggs' two-handed dunk at 16:16 put his squad up 16, 62-46.
Chattanooga chipped away at the lead. It got within nine twice when Z. Mason nailed a trey from the top of the key to cut it to six, 68-62, at 8:51. Two Drazen Zlovaric free throws nearly two minutes later made it a four-point deficit, 70-66 with 7:10 to play.
Sumler answered, though, with a three-ball on the Catamounts next possession. A defensive stop and two free throws from King extended the margin back to nine, 75-66, with six minutes remaining.
UTC maintained hope in the game by hitting 16-of-19 from the free throw line over the final 8:51 of the game, connecting on just one field goal - a 3-pointer by the ailing Dontay Hampton with 1:21 to play - during that stretch. Hampton's triple again pulled the Mocs within four points but a Boggs' lay-up and free throws by Sumler against stretched the WCU advantage back to multiple possessions.
Sumler hit all six free throw attempts inside the final 60 seconds to ice the win.
Mason finished with 21 points and six rebounds while Gee McGhee tied his season high with 19 points, chipping in four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He and Mason were the lone Mocs in double digits as Ronrico White had nine points and a team-high five assists.
Tankelewicz got the Catamounts off to a great start, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the first half by hitting five of seven from 3-point range. Western Carolina connected on eight treys in the first 20 minutes.
Mason had 10 points and five rebounds in the opening frame. Those five boards led a 24-13 effort on the glass.
Chattanooga out-rebounded Western Carolina 41-33, and went to the halftime locker room with more offensive rebounds (11) than the Catamounts had in defensive (10). Catamount sophomore James Sinclair led with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Western Carolina returns home for back-to-back home games next Thursday and Saturday in the Ramsey Center. The Catamounts first host the South Division-leading Davidson Wildcats (11-7, 6-1 SoCon) at 7:00 pm in a rematch of last year's epic double-overtime game in the SoCon Championship finals. Thursday night's game has been deemed the "White Out," with all WCU fans encouraged to wear white to the game. The Catamounts host Georgia Southern (8-11, 2-4 SoCon) at 2:00 pm on Saturday, Jan. 26.
Western Carolina at Chattanooga - Post-Game Notes:
* Western Carolina won for just the third time in the 35 all-time meetings at the McKenzie Arena, halting a five-game slide and improving to 3-32 all-time against UTC in the building - head coach Larry Hunter has two of those three "W's" at McKenzie Arena, also scoring a victory in 2007 ... WCU is just 4-35 in games played at McKenzie Arena;
* WCU shot 53.4-percent from the field against the Mocs, the second-best shooting percentage for the Catamounts this season - and the best against a NCAA Division I team ... It was also just the second 90-point game for WCU this year - again, the first against a D-I squad;
* The Catamounts made a season-high 12 3-pointers against Chattanooga on Saturday night, connecting on a season-best 53.4-percent from beyond the 3-point arc;
* Trey Sumler matched a career-high with 12 assists in scoring a double-double, adding 25 points in the winning effort ... Sumler has five career double-doubles including two against Chattanooga, both coming at the McKenzie Arena the past two seasons;
* Trey Sumler scored 25 points and Tom Tankelewicz finished with 21 for the Catamounts in the win, the first time WCU had two players score 20-or-more points in a game since Feb. 17, 2011 when Brandon Boggs and Mike Williams both scored 20 points at Appalachian State;
* Sumler connected on 10-of-10 from the free throw line in the win ... It was the most consecutive made free throws by a Catamount in single-game (minimum of 10 attempts) since Kevin Martin finished 11-for-11 against at Virginia Tech on Nov. 25, 2003;
* Tom Tankelewicz made a career-high seven 3-pointers in the win at UTC, surpassing his previous career high of six against No. 15 Georgetown earlier this season ... Tankelewicz made his first five 3-pointers in the first half before his first miss;
* Sophomore James Sinclair recorded his second career double-digit rebounding performance, pulling down a game-high 10 boards ... His 10 rebounds were the most for the Savannah, Ga., native in a SoCon game in his two-year career;
* With 25 points at Chattanooga on Saturday, Trey Sumler now has 1,192 career points, moving him past four players into 24th place in school history ... Sumler moved past Terry Boyd (1991-92) and Tommy Lavelle (1961-65) who both had 1,189 career points, as well as Bob Ray (1,187 points from 1952-54, '57) and David Berghoefer (1,180 points from 2003-06);
* WCU head coach Larry Hunter secured career victory No. 624 and his 115th at WCU in his eight-year tenure.