March 8, 2013
Asheville, N.C. - Western Carolina rolled to a 76-61 win over The Citadel in the 93rd Southern Conference Championship Friday night in ExploreAsheville.com Arena. The sixth seed, WCU is 14-18, while the 11th-seeded Bulldogs end up 8-22.
Trey Sumler led the Catamounts with a game-high 27 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. James Sinclair added 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Matt Van Scyoc and Mike Groselle scored 13 apiece for The Citadel.
"Our guys had a really good mindset with good practices all week long," said WCU head coach Larry Hunter during post-game comments. "Trey Sumler was terrific in both halves; he hit some big shots. Our bench was key tonight, I thought. Tawaski King got in foul trouble and that concerned me because of (The Citadel's) Mike Groselle. But overall, I thought our defense was really good tonight and came up big."
Western Carolina's lead grew to 14 on Tom Tankelewicz's trey at 17:27 for the 42-28 advantage. Down 44-30, the Bulldogs bounced back scoring on three straight trips with a 7-0 run to cut the margin to 44-37 on Raemond Robinson's three at 15:53.
But the Catamounts had all the answers. They posted a 7-0 run to go back up by 14, 51-37, on a Sumler three-pointer at 12:42. It would get no closer than eight the rest of the way.
WCU shot 50.9 percent from the field compared to 44.1 percent for The Citadel. It also took advantage of getting to the line 15 more times (24-9) scoring 13 from the stripe to just three for Citadel.
The Bulldogs took the early lead jumping out to a 12-5 start after Dylan Setzekorn's three-pointer at 14:32. Western responded with seven straight to tie the game at 12. It got its first lead, 17-16, on a Sumler trey at 11:20.
Groselle put The Citadel back up 18-17 with 10:17 to go in the half. That's when the Catamounts took charge. A 9-0 run was capped by a Sinclair layup at 4:38 for 26-18 advantage. Sumler beat the buzzer to send his squad into the break up nine, 34-25.
Western Carolina takes on No. 3 seed College of Charleston in the quarterfinals Saturday at 8:30 p.m., in ExploreAsheville.com Arena inside the Asheville Civic Center. The Catamounts were 0-1 against the Cougars in 2012-13. All tournament games through the semifinals are broadcast on ESPN3.com.