Feb. 22, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina cruised to its 10th Southern Conference victory with a 70-52 win over The Citadel Saturday afternoon in the Ramsey Center behind a stout defensed that swatted away nine blocks as the Catamounts broke the school single-season blocks record.
WCU picked up four blocks from Kenneth Hall, entered play Saturday third in the SoCon and leads the team in blocked shots. Hall has knocked away 54 blocks this season. As team the Catamounts have blocked 142 shots snapping the previous record of 137 blocks by the 2000-01 and 2004-05 squads.
The Catamounts opened up an early 12-point lead, 15-3, five and a half minutes into play highlighted by seven points by Trey Sumler and four points from Brandon Boggs including a high-flying transition dunk. The Bulldogs answered with a 9-3 run cutting the Catamount lead down to six points, 18-12, with 9:37 remaining before the half following a Matt Van Scyoc triple and free throw by Warren Sledge.
WCU answered with the next four points on a Bogg jumper and a Sumler basket to regain the double-digit lead, 22-12, two and a half minutes later. The Citadel trimmed the lead down to six points, 27-21, but Tom Tankelewicz answered with a 3-pointer for WCU keeping the Bulldogs at a comfortable distance. The Catamounts held the double figure lead, 35-25, at the break.
WCU's starting backcourt carried the load in the first half scoring 26 of the Catamounts' 35 points. Boggs accounted for 10 points, while Sumler and James Sinclair scored nine points and seven points respectively.
The Catamounts came out of the break and pushed their lead out to 14 points, 43-29, on a Tawaski King jumper three minutes into the action. WCU's post men scored six of the team's early eight points in the half as Hall added a pair of free throws and dunk. The Catamounts held the comfortable lead and pushed the margin out to 24 points, 64-40, following a pair of free throws from Sumler and Sinclair with 4:07 showing on the clock.
The Purple & Gold held its margin over the final four minutes en route to the 70-52 win.
WCU made 24 of its 54 shots from the floor for 44 percent compared to The Citadels 32 percent on 17-of-54 shooting. The Catamounts converted 17 of their 23 free throw attempts for 74 percent, while the Bulldogs made 13 of their 20 attempts from the charity stripe for 65 percent.
The Catamount defense forced 14 Bulldog turnovers resulting in 15 points. WCU, the league's leader in the steals, had seven take-a-ways led by four from Boggs.
The Catamount backcourt finished with 43 of the team's 70 points led by 18 points from Sumler. Sinclair finished with 13 points, and Boggs added 12 points. Sumler also collected six rebounds and handed out three assists, while Sinclair grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Ashton Moore led The Citadel offense with 16 points on a 6-of-14 shooting performance. Matt Van Scyoc was the only other Bulldog in double figures as he notched 10 points.
With the win, WCU picks up its sixth season with 10 or more SoCon wins as the Catamounts improve to 17-12 overall and 10-4 in league play. The Citadel remains winless in conference action falling to 4-25 overall and 0-14 in SoCon games.
The Catamounts will play their home finale in the Ramsey Center Thursday, February 27 against Chattanooga at 7 p.m. Prior to Thursday's game WCU will honor its five departing seniors.
Western Carolina vs. The Citadel Game Notes
- With the win, WCU has reeled off five wins in its last six games improving to 17-12 overall and 10-4 in the Southern Conference.
- WCU has won 10 or more SoCon games six times since joining the league in 1977-78 ... Last time the Catamounts accomplished the feat was in 2010-11 when WCU went 12-6 in league play ... WCU has won 10 or more conference games four times under head coach Larry Hunter - 2013-14, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09.
- Trey Sumler notched 18 points lifting the senior to 1,917 career points.
- Kenneth Hall swatted four Bulldog shots raising his season total to 54 blocks on the season;
- The Catamounts blocked nine Bulldog shots in the game raising their single-season total to 142 blocks this season breaking the school's single-season record ... The 2000-01 and 2004-05 teams held the previous mark with 137 blocked shots.