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Boggs Leads Catamounts over Chanticleers in BracketBuster, 80-70

James Sinclair scored 17 points including 11 during a big 24-to-4 first half Catamount run. (Photo by John Witherspoon)

Feb. 23, 2013

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Brandon Boggs came off the bench to lead a trio of Catamounts in double figures with a game-high 26 points on Saturday afternoon as Western Carolina clipped the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, 80-70, in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster in front of 1,127 fans on-campus in the Ramsey Center.

Boggs, who had started 16-straight games until being replaced among the starting-five by red-hot shooting Preston Ross on Saturday, finished 9-of-14 from the floor including a pair of 3-pointers in the win. After making his first two shots of the game, Ross was saddled with early foul trouble sending him to the sideline and bringing Boggs into the game.

But it was the play of sophomore James Sinclair and the collective Catamount defense in the first half that set the tone Saturday afternoon. While shooting 52-percent (15-of-29) during the opening 20 minutes, WCU limited Coastal to 6-of-22 (27.3%) from the field in taking a 36-21 edge into halftime. Finishing with 17 points on the day, Sinclair tallied 11 during a decisive 24-to-4 first half run for the Catamounts as WCU broke open a 12-12 tie in building a game-high 20-point lead with less than two minutes to play before intermission.

Boggs bookended the run with a jumper and a 3-pointer, scoring nine of the points while Sinclair hit three, 3-pointers during the spurt.

In the second half, the Catamounts managed to keep the Chanticleers at arm's length, holding a double-digit lead until Warren Gills connected to make it a nine-point game, 47-38, with 12 minutes to play. Again back within nine points (59-50) at the 7:27 mark, WCU scored seven-straight points, including five from Boggs, to stem the tide and stretch the lead back to 16, 66-50.

Coastal Carolina (13-13) was able to trim the WCU advantage to seven inside the final 30 seconds, but the home squad connected on nine of 12 free throw attempts in the final two and a half minutes to score the victory.

In addition to Boggs and Sinclair, Trey Sumler scored a dozen points and dished out three assists for the Catamounts, tallying seven points from the free throw line. Tom Tankelewicz scored seven including one 3-pointer while Ross and Tawaski King finished with six points apiece, and the duo was joined by freshman Mike Brown a team-high tying seven rebounds.

Guards Kierre Greenwood and Anthony Raffa scored 20 and 19 points apiece, respectively, to lead the Chanticleers while post Badou Diagne chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds, hitting three of Coastal Carolina's five 3-pointers.

WCU held a two rebound edge on the boards, 39-to-37, with the Chants pulling down 13 offensive rebounds. The teams combined to shoot 61 free throws - Coastal was 23-of-33 while WCU was 21-of-28 - all coming in the second half.

Western Carolina plays its final two home games of the regular season this coming week, hosting North Division foes Chattanooga (Thurs., Feb. 28) and Samford (Sat., March 2) in the Ramsey Center.

Western Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina - Post-Game Notes:
- Western Carolina snapped a two-game seasonal winless drought - and a three-game skid in the all-time series with Coastal Carolina - with Saturday's 10-point home victory ... WCU is now 3-4 all-time against Coastal Carolina including a 3-2 record in Cullowhee ... the Catamounts also improved to 104-94 all-time against the Big South Conference;

- In the final year of the ESPN BracketBuster - presented this year by Ramada Worldwide - Western Carolina scored its second victory, finishing 2-1 all-time ... WCU also won at home over Eastern Kentucky in 2011 with a lone loss coming at Kent State in 2010;

- Brandon Boggs broke out of a mini-slump shooting with his 9-for-14 outing from the floor ... In the four games prior, the Greenville, S.C., native had shot just 9-of-35 (25.7%) from the field and was averaging just 6.25 points during the same span;

- Thanks mostly to Boggs scoring 26 points, WCU's bench outscored Coastal Carolina's bench, 32-to-8;

- Trey Sumler scored 12 points on Saturday, his eighth-straight double-digit scoring effort and the 26th time this year he's scored in double figures ... Sumler has scored in double digits 74 times for the Purple & Gold;

- Sumler now has 1,377 career points to remain in 18th in the school record books ... He remained in ninth with 143 career steals; 10th with 349 career assists; and 10th with 148 career 3-pointers made;

- WCU head coach Larry Hunter scored career victory No. 628 on Saturday, including his 119th win at Western Carolina.