CLEMSON, S.C. - The Western Carolina men’s basketball team opened the 2017-18 season on the road Friday night (Nov. 10) at ACC foe Clemson. The Tigers used an explosive first half run to pull away from the Catamounts and cruise to an 85-57 victory. Redshirt-senior Haboubacar Mutombo led the Catamount attack with 10 points and three rebounds.
Clemson begins the season with a 1-0 record while WCU drops to 0-1.
Senior Devin Peterson added seven points and a rebound while junior Marc Gosselin chipped in seven points, two steals and a pair of rebounds. Junior college transfer Mike Amius made his Catamount debut as he started his first career game while wearing the Purple and Gold. The big man scored six tough points while blocking a pair of first half shots and collecting three rebounds. Returning starter Onno Steger added six points and a pair of rebounds to the effort.
Sophomore Maurice Smith came off the bench to lead the Catamounts in rebounding with four while adding four points. Freshman Desmond Johnson made his collegiate debut and had a team-high three assists while grabbing a rebound.
Senior Ashley Williams came in late and scored five points in just six minutes of action. He knocked down a 3-pointer and grabbed a rebound.
14 of the 16 Catamounts collected at least one rebound in the game while 12 of the 16 scored at least two points.
Clemson put four players in double-figures led by Donte Grantham’s 14 point effort.
The Tigers out0rebounded the Catamounts 39-32 and out-shot the visitors 50.0 percent to 39.3 percent. WCU also lost the turnover battle 20-15.
The Catamounts hung close to the Tigers for the opening 13 minutes until a 22-2 run by Clemson put the game out of reach. The run lasted the rest of the first half as Clemson took a 44-22 advantage into the break.
The Tigers led by as many as 36 points in the second half but a late run that was capped off by the first collegiate points from WCU freshman Marcus Thomas cut the final score to 85-57.
The road does not get any easier for the Catamounts as they set their sights on the 12th-ranked Bearcats of the University of Cincinnati. WCU will travel to Cincinnati this Monday, Nov. 13 for a 7 pm contest.