CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Once again the Western Carolina-Wofford rivalry produced a classic at the Southern Conference Championships as the two teams met for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments and had to go to double overtime to decide a winner. The Catamounts relied on seniors Mike Brown and Torrion Brummitt to lead them to victory 88-83 Saturday night inside the U.S. Cellular Center. The double-overtime victory advances WCU to the semifinals for the sixth time in the last seven years where the Catamounts will face top overall seed Chattanooga at 5 pm on Sunday.
The Catamount Club will host a pregame social at Scully's Bar and Grill in downtown Asheville Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm.
Brown and Brummitt combined for 59 points as Brown scored a career-high 34 points while grabbing six boards. Brummitt added 25 points and 14 rebounds for his 12th career double-double. Both players tied for the team lead with fellow senior Rhett Harrelson in assists as they all dished out a trio of helpers. Brown played all 50 minutes of the game while three others played 40 or more minutes.
Senior Justin Browning scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds, blocked three shots and picked up a pair of steals. Freshman Marc Gosselin scored a career-high nine points while grabbing seven rebounds.
With the victory, WCU improved to 16-16 this season while Wofford fell to 15-17 overall.
"The game was exactly like I thought it would be," said head coach Larry Hunter. "Wofford is a team I have unbelievable respect for. They're the two-time defending champions and you have to beat them. They are not going to make it easy on you or give it to you. Having said that, I've got a group of warriors on my bench too. I'm unbelievably proud of the effort and toughness. You have to make plays. You have to get stops. You have to come up with loose balls. You have to keep your poise. I'm really, really proud of these guys. They got it done. Our whole focus today was to not be denied and I think you could see that on the court."
The win improves WCU's overtime record over the last three seasons to 8-2 and also marks the fifth-straight victory for the Catamounts. WCU has now won eight of the last nine games which is the best stretch since the Catamounts won nine of 10 games at the end of the 2010-11 season.
The Catamounts led by five at the half and led nearly the entire second half until a 3-pointer by SoCon Freshman of the Year Fletcher Magee with 39 seconds left gave Wofford a 60-59 lead. Brummitt collected an offensive rebound on the other end and was fouled and made one of two free throws to tie the game with 13 seconds remaining. Wofford was unable to get off a clean shot in the final seconds which sent the game to overtime.
Wofford led for most of the first overtime period until a 5-0 run late in the period gave WCU a 71-70. Magee once again came up big for the Terriers as he hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to retake a two-point lead for Wofford. Brown was able to answer the call for the Catamounts as he drew a foul with five seconds remaining and sank a pair of free throws to tie the game once again. Wofford took another desperation shot that was off the mark which sent the game to double overtime.
In the second overtime period it was a different story as the Catamounts jumped out to the early lead and eventually built up a six point advantage which they would never relinquish. Brown scored six points in the second extra stanza while Harrelson and sophomore Devin Peterson each hit clutch free throws late to seal the game.
WCU will now take on No. 1 seed Chattanooga Sunday night at 5 pm. Chattanooga defeated Samford 59-54 earlier Saturday.