Jan. 29, 2011
Spartanburg, S.C. -
Western Carolina erased all but four points of Wofford's first half double-digit lead after intermission, cutting it to a two-possession game in the second half. However, the a late scoring surge by the Terriers and a game-high 34 points by Noah Dahlman led the Terriers over the Catamounts in Southern Conference action Saturday night at the Benjamin Johnson Arena.
Wofford (12-10, 9-2 SoCon) held WCU scoreless during a three-minute stretch in the opening 20 minutes, outscoring the Catamounts 10-to-0 to grab a double-digit lead it would maintain until late in the second half. Trailing by as many as 13 in the second stanza, WCU senior Mike Williams completed an old-fashioned three-point play to pull the Catamounts to within four points, 59-55, with five minutes remaining in the game.
However, the senior-laden Wofford squad responded with an 11-to-2 spurt - including five points from Dahlman - to stretch the lead back to 13 and effectively ending the Catamount threat. The Terriers connected on just enough free throws - 5-of-8 - in the closing minute to score their sixth win in their last seven games.
"I told the team after the game, I was proud of their competitiveness at the end of the first half and in the second," said WCU head coach Larry Hunter during post-game comments on the Catamount Sports Network. "Wofford is a very good basketball team and I don't want to take anything away from them. But we could have folded, tucked our tails and run in that first half. But we didn't and I was proud of the way we fought back and continued to play hard."
Redshirt freshman Trey Sumler led three Catamounts in double figures with 16 points while redshirt junior Harouna Mutombo added 15 on 7-of-9 shooting and senior Richie Gordon added 10 points and a team-best six rebounds. Williams, who leads the team in scoring on the season, was held to seven points, but matched a career-high with six assists and three steals.
Freshmen Preston Ross
and Tawaski King
both chipped in seven points apiece off the bench for the Catamounts who lost their third-straight road game at Wofford.
Dahlman, who shot 15-of-17 from the field in the win, was joined in double figures by Cameron Rundles, who tallied 12 of his 19 points in the first half and three of his seven in the second half during the final two minutes. Brad Loesing added seven points and eight assists for Wofford.
The Catamounts forced the normally sure-handed Terriers into 16 turnovers, four above their SoCon-leading seasonal average entering the game. Wofford shot a solid 57.7-percent from the floor on the night including 62-percent in the second half. On the contrary, WCU shot just 26-of-56 from the field, 46-percent.s
Western Carolina returns to the road on Wednesday, Feb. 2 as it returns to SoCon North Division play at Elon. Tip-off from the Alumni Gymnasium is set for 7:00 pm. WCU won the first meeting with the Phoenix this season, 70-63, in Cullowhee back on Jan. 13. The Catamounts have not won at Elon, nor swept a regular season series with the Phoenix since 2005, having dropped 13 of the last 14 road meetings at Elon.
- Western Carolina held Wofford to just 3-of-12 shooting (25%) from beyond the 3-point arc on Saturday night ... the Terriers entered the game averaging a SoCon-leading 39.1-percent in 3-point shooting with an average of six made treys per game;
- Western Carolina has dropped nine of its last 10 games on the road including six-straight during the month of December ... This season, the Catamounts are just 3-13 away from the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center including two losses on a neutral court ... the loss at Wofford was the third-straight for WCU with the last Catamount win in Spartanburg coming during the 2006-07 season;
- WCU remains in second place in the Southern Conference's North Division after Saturday play around the league ... Chattanooga stands in first in the North after upending Elon to move to 9-2 - tied with Wofford for the best conference record this season ... WCU is second at 5-5 followed by UNC Greensboro (4-6) - winners over Samford on Saturday - in third (WCU has yet to play the Spartans; has two games this year left with UNCG) ... Elon and Appalachian State are tied for fourth with identical 4-7 records, while Samford is in sixth at 3-7 in league play;
- Senior Richie Gordon blocked two shots on Saturday night giving the Atlanta, Ga., native 103 for his WCU career ... Gordon continues to rank third on the school's all-time blocked shots ledger, just nine shy of second-place Tommy Lavelle (1961-64) with 112 ... WCU's all-time leader, Rans Brempong (2001-05) finished with 308 career blocked shots for the Purple & Gold;
- Redshirt junior Harouna Mutombo now has 940 points in his WCU career, just 60 shy of the 1,000-point plateau ... Mutombo is vying to become the 39th different Catamount in program history to score over 1,000 points at WCU.