BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Bulldogs of Samford University shot 60.4 percent from the field Thursday night to pull away from the Catamounts of Western Carolina, 82-63, in Birmingham. WCU junior Haboubacar Mutombo scored a team-high 19 points in the loss but it was not enough to overcome several scoreless minutes by the Catamounts throughout the game.
WCU trailed by just 10 points with 13:57 left to play when Samford began a 23-6 run to pull away and never look back.
Mutombo was 8-of-12 from the floor while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Junior Devin Peterson and sophomore Marc Gosselin each added nine points in the loss. Freshman Maurice Smith ripped down a team-high six rebounds while scoring a career-high six points. He also tied for the team lead with three assists.
Samford was led by Alex Thompson who had a game-high 23 points including 12 in the second half. Demetrius Denzel-Dyson added 14 points while Josh Sharkey had 10.
WCU shot 42.4 percent from the field including 43.8 percent in the second half but the hot-shooting Bulldogs connected on 10 3-pointers and 18 percent more of their shots to down the Catamounts. Samford won the rebound battle 34-27 but had two more turnovers than the Catamounts. 14-12.
The loss drops WCU to 7-17 overall and 2-9 in Southern Conference play while the Bulldogs improved to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in league action.
WCU will now travel to preseason SoCon favorite Chattanooga for a 5 pm Saturday night affair. The Mocs knocked off UNCG 91-68 Thursday night to improve to 7-3 in league play.