Keaton Cole scored 18 points including three crucial free throws with 1.9 left in regulation to force overtime at UNCG on Saturday afternoon.
Jan. 28, 2012
Greensboro, N.C. -
Senior Keaton Cole calmly drained three free throws in the closing seconds of regulation to erase a three-point deficit and force overtime on Saturday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum. However, UNC Greensboro shot a perfect 11-for-11 from the foul line in the extra session to hold off the Catamounts, snapping an eight-game winless drought against WCU with their sixth-straight victory, 89-86.
Four Catamounts scored in double figures led by 22 points from Trey Sumler and 18 from Cole who buried five 3-pointers for the second-straight game against UNCG. Sophomore Tawaski King posted his second-straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Harouna Mutombo scored 14 points, coming off the bench for the first time this season. Tom Tankelewicz hit a pair of 3-pointers to score eight points while Brandon Boggs struggled shooting, but finished with seven points, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Trevis Simpson scored six of his 26 points in the extra session while Derrell Armstrong finished with 23 points pacing the Spartans. Armstrong scored eight of his points from the free throw line as the Spartans scored 30 points from the stripe on 30-of-37 shooting or 81.1 percent. Drew Parker rounded out the three Spartans in double figures with 11 points while David Williams pulled down a game-high 18 rebounds.
UNCG closed the first half with an 18-to-2 run, holding the Catamounts to just one field goal the final seven minutes of the opening stanza after WCU has pulled out to its game-high lead of six points. The Spartans led at the break, 41-31.
WCU erased the double-digit deficit after intermission with nine-straight points as a part of a 14-to-1 spurt by the Catamounts to take a five-point, 61-56, lead with five minutes remaining in regulation. However, UNCG answered with a run of its own and managed a four-point lead inside the final 30 seconds of regulation.
Down four, 67-63, Cole buried his fifth 3-pointer of the game to close the margin back to one with Simpson draining a pair of charity tosses to stretch the margin back to three inside of 10 seconds. Looking for the equalizing 3-pointer, Cole was fouled by Williams just to the right of the top of the key after offering a long-range shot. With 1.9 showing on the clock, Cole sank all three free throw attempts, tying the game at 69 and forcing overtime.
Sumler gave the Catamounts the early edge in overtime with a running lay-up in the lane to go ahead, 71-69, but an alley-oop dunk and jumper from the win by Simpson gave the lead back to UNCG. The Spartans managed to pull out to an overtime-best lead of seven points three times including 87-80 with 24 seconds remaining.
Sumler then converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Tankelewicz banked home his second 3-pointer of the day to again pull within one, 87-86, with nine seconds showing. However, Armstrong nailed both free throw attempts and the Catamounts only got a desperation 3-point shot by Cole at the buzzer in suffering its third-straight defeat.
Western Carolina (9-13, 3-6 SoCon) stays on the road Monday night as it travels to the Benjamin Johnson Arena to face the Wofford Terriers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard on 920 AM WPTL in Canton and online at CatamountSports.com.