Feb. 8, 2013
Davidson, N.C. - South Division-leading Davidson used a 19-to-4 first half run to take a double-digit lead it would never relinquish as the Wildcats upended visiting Western Carolina, 73-59, on Thursday night in Southern Conference action at the Belk Arena. WCU suffered its fourth-straight loss in league play while Davidson improved to 8-1 at home this season on the strength of their seventh-straight seasonal victory.
Jake Cohen connected on a lay-up with 5:44 remaining in the first half as a part of four-straight points to push the Wildcats' advantage into double digits, 25-15. WCU trailed by as many as 21 in the second half but were able to claw back to within 11 on two occasions, but could get no closer.
Cohen paced three Wildcats in double figures with his first double-double of the season, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds. J.P. Kuhlman finished with 13 points and seven assists while Nik Cochran scored eight of his 10 points from the free throw line. Chris Czerapowicz matched Cohen with a dozen rebounds.
The Catamounts also put three in double figures as both Trey Sumler and Tawaski King scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds apiece. Sumler added five assists and four steals for WCU, tallying 14 of his points in the second half. Brandon Boggs rounded out WCU's double-digit scorers with 12 points while Josh Mendenhall matched a team-high with seven rebounds including four on the offensive end off the bench.
Opening the game with a 3-pointer by Tom Tankelewicz, WCU (8-15, 5-6 SoCon) twice led by three points early in the contest. However, a 7-0 spurt by the Wildcats handed Davidson (16-7, 11-1) a lead it would never turn loose. With the margin at two points, 11-9, midway through the half, Davidson used an 18-to-6 run capped by two Kuhlman free throws with 4:02 to play before the break to give the home squad a 29-15 advantage.
Despite a made runner by Sumler just before the halftime buzzer, the Wildcats carried a 38-22 edge into halftime. All told, WCU was outscored by Davidson 20-to-7 over the final seven and a half minutes of the first half.
In the second half, the Wildcats stretched their advantage to as many as 21 on a Czerapowicz 3-pointer at the 16:32 mark, but WCU would not go away. Sumler scored eight of the next 12 Catamount points as a part of a 12-to-2 run to pull back to within 11, 50-39, at the 13:35 mark. Yet, reserve Tom Droney slipped through the tightened Catamount defense for a lay-up to stem the tide.
Western Carolina had one final push inside the game's final nine minutes. Again within 11 points, 60-49, neither team was able to score for nearly a four-minute span. During that time, the Catamounts had five offensive possessions but failed to score, missing three shots and committing two turnovers. Cochran, much like he did in the first meeting with a dagger 3-pointer, converted an offensive rebound for a jumper that pushed the margin back to 13 at the five minute mark.
WCU would only get to within 12 the remainder of the game.
Davidson outscored WCU by 15 at the free throw line, hitting 20-of-24 attempts while the Catamounts were just 5-of-8 from the charity stripe. Western Carolina held a commanding 44-to-20 edge in points in the paint including a 32-to-10 second half advantage, while the Wildcats shot 7-of-26 (26.9%) from beyond the arc with the Catamounts shooting just 2-of-11 (18.2%).
Western Carolina plays the final leg of a three-game road swing on Saturday night, visiting Hanner Field House in Statesboro, Ga., to face the Georgia Southern Eagles which suffered an overtime loss to Appalachian State at home on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
Western Carolina at Davidson - Post-Game Notes:
- Western Carolina dropped its fourth-straight game to Davidson in the all-time head-to-head series as the Wildcats swept the two regular season meetings ... WCU fell to 20-40 all-time against Davidson, 7-20 in games played on the road in the series;
- WCU's fourth-straight loss marks the longest consecutive game losing skid for the Catamounts this season ... It matches the longest winless streak from a year ago as WCU lost four-straight as a part of dropping 7-of-8 from the end of January through mid-February ... the Catamounts rebounded to win seven of their next eight in 2011-12, ending in the SoCon Championship game ... This season, WCU has now lost six of its last seven games since opening the year 4-0 in league play;
- Davidson stretched its current winning streak to seven-straight games, improving to 8-1 at home on the year;
- WCU's Trey Sumler moved into 10th place in two career statistical categories on Thursday night ... Sumler now has 334 career assists to by-pass Quentin Moore (331, 1981-84) to etch his name on the helpers ledger ... He also now has 137 career steals to leapfrog Robert Gaines (136, 1990-93) on the career thefts chart;
- Sumler now has 1,258 career points to continue to rank 24th in program history ... He is just behind former teammate Jake Robinson who had 1,287 points during his four-year career;
- Tom Tankelewicz hit WCU's only two 3-pointers on Thursday night giving him 61 on the season, just three shy of making the program's single-season chart ... He is just behind a three-way tie between Jake Robinson (2006-07), Casey Rogers (1998-99) and David Donerlson (1989-90) who each had 64 made 3-pointers in a season.