Nov. 11, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - James Sinclair led the Western Carolina offense with 17 points and five assists as the Catamounts took down mountain rival UNC Asheville 74-67 Monday night in the Ramsey Center in a nonconference game.
Sinclair came up two points shy of his career-high and one assists shy of his career-high. He was 5-of-14 from the floor including 3-of-6 from three. The junior guard also went 4-of-5 from the free throw line. The Savannah, Ga. native not only filled out the stat sheet on the offensive end, but on the defensive end as he added five steals -- a new career mark -- and a block.
Just under halfway through the first half with WCU leading 13-12, the Catamounts launched a 16-5 run that was capped off by a Brandon Boggs steal and 360 degree dunk and a Sinclair three to give the Purple and Gold a 29-17 lead with 4:34 remaining in the half. Tawaski King accounted for six of the 16 points during the stretch. WCU took its largest lead of the game, 15 points, 38-23, with a minute and half remaining on a Justin Browning steal and transition dunk that brought the crowd of 1,957 to their feet. The Bulldogs scored the final four points of the half as the Catamounts took a 38-27 lead into the break.
WCU shot 44 percent from the floor, while limiting UNCA to just 32 percent overall after the first 20 minutes of play.
UNCA carried the momentum in the early part of the second half as they dwindled the lead down to five points, 43-38, with just over 14 minutes remaining on the clock on the heels of an 11-5 run. However, a minute and a half later, the Catamounts had extended the lead back to double-digits, 50-40, following a Sinclair three. The Catamounts stayed just out of reach and even pushed the margin out to 14 points, 67-53 with three and half minutes left en route to the 74-67 win.
WCU finished 42 percent from the floor, 50 percent from three and 63 percent from the line, while UNCA heated up in the second half raising its shooting percentage to 40 percent overall, 37 percent from long range and 74 percent from the free throw line. The Catamounts for the second straight game won the turnover battle creating 18 Bulldog turnovers, while only handing the ball over 11 times. WCU had double-digit steals in back-to-back games as they picked UNCA's pocket 13 times.
Overall, WCU had three players in double figures as King and Tom Tankelewicz each notched 14 points. Twelve of King's 14 points came in the first half, while nine of Tankelewicz's 14 points came from behind the 3-point line.
The win avenges the loss suffered by the Catamounts last season at UNCA, and improves WCU to 2-0 on the season. The Bulldogs slip to 0-2 and to 25-20 in the overall series between the to programs.
WCU hits the road for a 10-day, six-game road trip that starts with No.18/18 Oregon on Wednesday, November 13; back-to-back games at Virginia Tech and Liberty on Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16 await the Catamounts when they return to the east coast.
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