March 2, 2012
Asheville, N.C. - Harouna Mutombo led three Catamounts in double figures with a game-high tying 21 points as Western Carolina connected on 12 3-pointers to down sixth-seeded The Citadel, 68-56, Friday afternoon in the first round match-up of the 2012 Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Western Carolina (15-17) advances to play the South Divisions second-seed, the Wofford Terriers, in Saturday's second quarterfinal game. The two teams split the regular season meetings this year, wining on their respective home courts. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 pm.
Mutombo's 21 points were flanked by 18 points from Trey Sumler and 14 from Keaton Cole as both guards hit four 3-pointers apiece. The duo of Sumler and Cole also combined for 12 assists, dishing out six each.
The Catamounts never trailed after Mutombo's 3-pointer gave them a 3-2 lead early in the first. Seven of their eight first-half baskets came from long range as the third seed in the league's North Division took a 24-17 lead into intermission.
The Bulldogs (6-24) twice got within five in the second half. A three-point play by Mike Groselle, who finished with 21 points, made it 37-32 with 13:20 left, but Brandon Boggs, Keaton Cole and Sumler hit 3-pointers on Western Carolina's next three possessions to boost its lead to 46-34.
Each team shot 65.2 percent (15-of-23) in the second half.
- Western Carolina scored just its fifth-victory all-time in Southern Conference tournament play in Asheville, N.C. ... During the first, 12-year run of the tournament in Asheville, WCU had a 4-11 record entering this year's event - however, the Catamounts have won four of the last six games it has played in tournament action in Asheville, falling in the SoCon title game in 1995;
- With four more made 3-pointers on Friday, senior Keaton Cole added to his school single-season record now with 106 made treys this season ... He also moved onto the Southern Conference's single-season top 10 list into sole possession of 10th all-time ...He is just five made 3-pointers shy of Marshall's Keith Veney who made 111 in the 1995-96 season;
- Redshirt senior Harouna Mutombo now has 1,524 career points, moving into 10th place on WCU's career scoring charts ... He by-passed former WCU great Danny Tharpe who scored, 1,509 points from 1961-64;
- WCU picked up win No. 15 on Friday ... the Catamounts have won 15-or-more games each of the past four seasons under head coach Larry Hunter ... Hunter scored win No. 105 at WCU and 614 for his coaching career.