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Free Throws in Closing Seconds Lift Cougars over Western Carolina, 67-65

Feb. 20, 2013

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Trey Sumler capped a feverish Catamount rally as Western Carolina stormed back from a 12-point deficit inside the game's final 3:08, tying the game with his patented runner down the right-side of the lane with 4.6 seconds remaining. However, College of Charleston guard Andrew Lawrence dribbled the length of the floor on the ensuing inbounds play and was fouled attempting a would-be game-winning lay-up.

Lawrence stepped to the free throw line and ultimately made both free throws to propel the Cougars to the two-point victory as Adjehi Baru deflected WCU's final heave on the inbounds play to end the game.

Sumler scored 22 of his game-high 24 points in the second half after shooting just three times (0-for-3) in the opening 20 minutes and only scoring a pair of free throws. For the second-straight home game, he took over in the closing moments, tallying a dozen of WCU's final 14 points during the 12-point run to knot the game at 65 inside the closing five seconds.

"I thought Trey Sumler was terrific down the stretch there, and our guys hung in there like they've been doing," said WCU head coach Larry Hunter during post-game comments. "We tied it up and we gave ourselves a chance to go to overtime. But, I'm really proud of the guys overall; I'm proud of the way we came back. Trey came in and just made big basket after big basket."

Amidst the turmoil after Sumler's game-tying heroics, Lawrence grabbed the inbounds pass and raced up the right sidelines while the Catamount defense recoiled. Leaning in from the right side of the hoop, Lawrence drew enough contact on the missed runner to be awarded a pair of free throws with just 0.6 remaining on the game clock.

After Lawrence sank the first, WCU called a timeout to plan for the final attempt. It became apparent quickly that Lawrence wanted to miss his second charity toss to start the clock, preventing WCU from being able to advance the ball at all. Looking to prolong the game, WCU took several intentional lane violation calls until Lawrence finally made the free throw.

Preston Ross then threw the ball nearly the full length of the court on the ensuing inbounds play, looking for a quick tip towards the goal. However, Baru deflected it to the left side, killing the final sixth-tenths of a second off the clock.

Ross was the only other Catamount in double figures, tallying 12 points including 10 in the first half. Ross finished 5-of-7 from the floor with a 3-pointer, adding five rebounds and a steal. Both Tom Tankelewicz and Tawaski King just missed double digits with nine points apiece. Tankelewicz drained three 3-pointers while King - who entered the game leading WCU in field goal percentage - struggled against the Cougars' post defense, shooting just 4-of-12 while managing a team-high seven rebounds.

Trent Wiedeman recorded a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds for the College of Charleston which scored its eighth win in the past nine outings. Baru chipped in 13 points and nine boards while Lawrence and Anthony Stitt finished with 12 points apiece.

Charleston secured a first-round bye in the 2013 Southern Conference Basketball Championship with the victory, while also tallying a 20-win season under first-year head coach Doug Wojcik.

Western Carolina (11-17, 8-8 SoCon) built a 26-18 lead in the final six minutes of the opening stanza only to see the Cougars close the half on a 12-to-2 run, taking a two-point, 30-28, lead into the halftime locker room. After intermission, CofC rattled off seven-straight points before a jumper by King two and a half minutes in snapped the cold streak.

Charleston held the Catamounts at arm's length most of the second half, posting a 6-0 spurt to build a game-high 12-point advantage with just three minutes remaining. Sumler sparked WCU's rally with a 3-pointer before scoring nine-more points in the rally including the game-tying shot which was very reminiscent to the game-winner against Wofford the week before.

Charleston edged the Catamounts on the boards, 42-to-38, but held a commanding 20-to-8 advantage in points from the free throw line. CofC attempted 28 free throws while WCU was awarded only nine attempts, shooting 88.9-percent from the stripe.

Western Carolina steps out of conference on Saturday afternoon as it welcomes Coastal Carolina to the Ramsey Center for a 2:00 pm tip-off in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster event. It is the seventh all-time meeting between the Catamounts and Chanticleers with WCU trailing in the series, 2-4. Coastal Carolina (13-12) is coming off a one-point victory over common foe, UNC Asheville, back on Tues., Feb. 19.

Western Carolina vs. College of Charleston - Post-Game Notes:
- Western Carolina saw its three-game home winning streak over the College of Charleston snapped with the close, two-point loss on Wednesday night ... WCU had won three-straight in the Ramsey Center over the Cougars dating back to the 2007-08 season ... the defeat was the second-straight for WCU on the year, both going right down to the wire including last Saturday's overtime loss at divisional-leader, Elon;

- Of WCU's 17 losses on the season, 12 have come by 11-points or less including five by five-or-fewer points ... WCU has two, one-point losses and now two, two-point defeats on the year;

- Tom Tankelewicz made three-more 3-pointers in Wednesday night's home loss to Charleston giving him 74 for the season ... Tankelewicz moved past Kevin Martin for sixth on the list, by-passing Martin's 2001-02 season where he made 73 treys;

- Trey Sumler scored a game-high 24 points in the game marking his73rd career game in double figures, 12th 20-point performance this season, and the 17th of his Catamount career;

- Trey Sumler jumped two more positions in WCU's record books on Wednesday evening ... Now with 1,365 career points, Sumler ranks 18th in program history ... He leapfrogged Bubba Wilson (20th) who scored 1,350 points from 1975-78 and Cory Largent (19th) who posted 1,360 career points from 1999-2002;

- Sumler continues to rank ninth on the career steals chart (143); 10th in career assists (346); and 10th in career 3-pointers made (147);