Western Carolina Shoots Past Chattanooga, 82-76

CATAMOUNTSPORTSDOTCOM Keaton Cole matched his career-high with six 3-pointers in scoring 18 points in the home win over Chattanooga. (Photo by Mark Haskett)
Keaton Cole matched his career-high with six 3-pointers in scoring 18 points in the home win over Chattanooga. (Photo by Mark Haskett)

Feb. 2, 2012

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Brandon Boggs scored 21 points and Keaton Cole added 18 as Western Carolina held off Chattanooga, 82-76, Thursday night in Southern Conference action in the Ramsey Center. The Catamounts knocked down a season-high 15 3-pointers including 12 in the first half alone to snap a four-game losing skid and halt a six-game drought in league play.

Chattanooga, which dropped its sixth-straight overall, erased a 16-point second half deficit with a 13-to-1 run to close within four points with two minutes remaining in regulation. However, the Catamounts were able to halt the rally and hold on for the victory by draining 6-of-8 from the free throw line inside the final minute.

WCU head coach Larry Hunter also scored his 100th victory as the Catamounts head coach and his 609th all-time.

"I thought we really competed well with a good level of energy and good enthusiasm for the game - a little bit better than what we have had recently. Just hats off to the guys," said Hunter during post-game comments on the Catamount Sports Network. "I thought we shot it very well, but they were good shots. I thought we were really moving the ball, hitting the first open man and reversing the ball. Even though we were shooting a lot of 3's, we were still throwing it into the post. They were double-teaming and we got to moving the ball off of that and it created offense for us."

Both Cole and Boggs matched their career highs for 3-pointers with six and five, respectively, in the victory. Boggs paced four Catamounts in double figures with 21 while Cole added four assists to go along with his 18 points. Trey Sumler and Harouna Mutombo recorded 14 points apiece with both just missing double-doubles. Sumler dished out eight assists against just one turnover while Mutombo pulled down nine rebounds and three steals.

Tawaski King finished with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds, matching his career-best. King saw his streak of five-straight double-figure scoring games snapped, but continues his improved play as he held UTC post Drazen Zlovaric - who scored 19 in the first meeting in Chattanooga - scoreless on the night.

Western Carolina's first six field goals on Thursday night came from beyond the 3-point arc with Mutombo adding three free throws to stake the Catamounts to a six-point lead, 21-15, midway through the first half. With the Mocs within four points, 31-27, WCU outscored Chattanooga 14-to-5 over the final four and a half minutes to take a 13-point, 45-32, lead into intermission.

Out of the halftime locker room, the Catamounts stretched its advantage to a game-high 18 points on a jumper by Boggs to lead, 55-37. WCU maintained its double-digit lead until the Mocs rallied over the final five minutes, scoring 11-straight points to pull within four with two minutes to play. The Catamounts got four charity tosses from Sumler and two from Tom Tankelewicz off the bench to ice the victory.

Senior Omar Wattad led four UTC players in double figures with 18 points including eight points from the free throw line and a pair of 3-pointers. Keegan Bell and Dontay Hampton scored 13 points apiece with Bell dishing out five assists. Lance Stokes finished with 11 points for the Mocs.

Western Carolina concludes its stretch of five games in 10 days on Saturday afternoon as it hosts Georgia Southern in the Ramsey Center. Tip-off in the lone regular season meeting between the Catamounts and Eagles is set for 2:00 pm.



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