Jan. 24, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Reminiscent of the last meeting between the two schools in last season's Southern Conference Championship game, Western Carolina erased a 17-point deficit to the visiting Davidson Wildcats on Thursday night, clawing back to within one point inside the game's final two minutes. However, the Catamount rally was thwarted by Davidson's 12th 3-pointer of the contest as the Wildcats escaped the Ramsey Center with a 79-74 victory.
Tawaski King's one-handed slam dunk with 1:37 remaining in regulation brought the 4,178 white-clad fans to their feet as WCU pulled to within a point, 71-70. On the ensuing possession, though, Nik Cochran rained down his sixth long-range shot to push it back to a four-point edge, 74-70.
The Catamounts again made it a one-possession game on a slicing lay-up by Trey Sumler, 74-72, but preseason SoCon Player of the Year, De'Mon Brooks answered with 34 ticks remaining and the visitors connected on 3-of-4 free throw attempts to secure the victory.
Cochran scored 26 of his career-high 32 points in the second half to lead all scorers. The Vancouver, B.C., native recorded 21 of Davidson's first 22 points after intermission as the Catamounts made their initial run to erase a 13-point halftime disadvantage.
Sumler and Brandon Boggs paced the Catamounts with 22 points apiece while King just missed a double-double with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds including four on the offensive end. Boggs, who scored a dozen points in the second half, fouled out with six minutes remaining in regulation.
Davidson (12-7, 7-1 SoCon) raced out to a double-digit first half lead thanks to an 18-to-2 run that handed the Wildcats a 23-8 lead midway through the opening 20 minutes. The advantage grew to as much as 17 on two occasions, dipping back into single digits once on a Boggs' 3-pointer inside the final 90 seconds. Davidson carried a 44-31 edge into halftime.
Western Carolina opened the second half shooting 5-of-7 from the floor including a pair of 3-point plays and another trey by Boggs to quickly shrink the gap back to five, 49-44, and prompting a Wildcat timeout. After the stoppage, Davidson embarked on a 13-to-4 spurt including three 3-pointers by Jake Cohen, who finished with 15 points, to stretch its lead back to double-digits at 14, 62-48, at the 10:53 mark.
Eight-straight WCU points including five from Sumler and three by sophomore James Sinclair, who finished with six points on the night, started the Catamount push. The home squad pulled to within three, 64-61, on a King put back only to see Davidson stretch it back to arms length the next three times it had the ball on offense.
Tom Tankelewicz buried his only 3-pointer of the game at the two minute mark to again make it a one-possession game, 71-68, before King converted a Sumler steal with the aforementioned dunk to make a one-point margin. But Davidson managed to stave off the comeback to pick up the victory.
All told, the Catamounts used a 22-to-9 run to pull to within one, 71-70, on King's rim-rattler.
In addition to Cochran and Cohen, Tyler Kalinoski finished with 10 points and Brooks just missed double figures with nine in the win for Davidson which finished 12-of-21 (57.1%) from beyond the 3-point arc as a part of shooting 53.2-percent (25-of-47) from the field.
Western Carolina returns to the Ramsey Center on Saturday afternoon to host the Georgia Southern Eagles (8-12, 2-5 SoCon), which lost in overtime, 64-62, at Appalachian State on Thursday night.
Western Carolina vs. Davidson - Post-Game Notes:
- Western Carolina suffered its third-straight loss to the Davidson Wildcats on Thursday night, falling to 20-39 in the all-time series including 9-16 inside the Ramey Center ... WCU has dropped nine of the last 11 head-to-head meetings with the Wildcats;
- WCU dropped to 4-3 at home in the Ramsey Center this year ... It was the second SoCon loss at home in 2012-13 - and just the ninth conference defeat in Cullowhee in the last 42 meetings (33-9, .786);
- Junior Brandon Boggs recorded his third-straight, double-digit scoring outing of the season, tallying a season-high 22 points on Thursday ... Boggs matched his career-long, double-digit scoring string established his freshman season ... Boggs has nine double-digit scoring efforts this year;
- Trey Sumler dished out five assists in the loss to Davidson ... It is the eighth time this season he has passed out five-or-more helpers in a single game ... For his career, the Rocky Mount, N.C., native has 324 assists, just SIX assists shy of moving onto WCU's career top 10 list ... Quentin Moore had 331 assists from 1981-84;
- With two steals on Thursday, Sumler now has 128 career thefts, just EIGHT shy of moving onto the career steals chart ... Richard Gainey had 136 career steals from 1990-93;
- WCU's Trey Sumler matched Boggs with a team-high 22 points on Saturday night, tallying his 11th-straight, double-digit scoring outing ... Sumler now has 1,214 career points to rank 24th in school history, just 73 points shy of former teammate, Jake Robinson, in 23rd at 1,287.