CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina men's basketball picked up a key Southern Conference victory Saturday night inside the Ramsey Center as the Catamounts outlasted the Terriers of Wofford College, 68-62. Playing in front of an announced crowd of 1,894, the Catamounts controlled the boards and shot the ball well to earn the victory. The Catamounts reached double-figures led by junior point guard Devin Peterson who scored 16 points while dishing out a pair of assists.
Sophomore Marc Gosselin came up just short of a double-double with 15 points and a team-high tying nine rebounds. He also had a pair of blocks, three assists and a steal. The forward knocked down five of his six free throw attempts and drained a pair of 3-pointers.
Junior Haboubacar Mutombo was the final double-digit scorer as he added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting while passing out three assists.
Sophomore Elijah Pughsley and freshman Yalim Olcay had strong performances off the bench. Pughsley scored nine points while going 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and Olcay tied for the team high in rebounding with nine boards in 17 minutes of action while scoring seven points.
WCU outrebounded the Terriers 40-28 and limited Wofford to just six second chance points off of six offensive rebounds.
WCU shot an impressive 53.8 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes as the Catamounts opened up a 31-28 lead at the break. The percentage dipped down to 40.7 percent in the second half but it was enough to give WCU the 68-62 victory. Wofford shot a respectable 47.8 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes but dropped to 34.5 percent in the second half as they saw the Catamounts pull away for the win.
The Terriers were led by sophomore Fletcher Magee who scored a game-high 21 points as he knocked down four 3-pointers. Eric Garcia added 12 points to the cause as well.
The victory is WCU's second SoCon win of the season as the Catamounts improved to 7-15 overall and 2-7 in league action. The Terriers, who were coming off an impressive victory over league leader UNCG, dropped to 9-13 overall and 4-5 in SoCon play.
The Catamounts led for the majority of the opening 20 minutes of play including building up a six point advantage with 7:06 left to play off a jumper by Peterson, 20-14. The Terriers fought back and took a one point advantage with 1:32 left in the period but a 3-pointer by Mutombo retook the lead for WCU which they would not relinquish the rest of the half. Wofford cut the lead to one with nine ticks left in the period but a jumper as time expired by Mutombo gave WCU a 3-point halftime lead, 31-28.
A 7-2 run by the Terriers gave Wofford a 43-40 lead with 12:19 left in the game but WCU responded with a 9-0 run of its own to retake the lead for good. The run featured baskets by four different Catamounts including a 3-pointer by Gosselin. Wofford would get the advantage down to two points on two separate occasions but WCU hit its shots down the stretch and connected on 7-of-9 free throws in the final minute to keep the Terriers at bay.
WCU will now travel to Macon, Ga., a site where the Catamounts have never lost, to face the Mercer Bears on Monday night.