Nov. 12, 2013
Eugene, Ore. - The Western Carolina men's basketball team opens a 10-day, six game road trip with No. 18 Oregon in Matthew Knight Arena Wednesday night at 8 p.m. pacific time.
The Catamounts are coming off a two home wins in the Ramsey Center to open the 2013-14 season. WCU defeated Wittenberg 77-55 in the season opener and two days later followed with a 74-67 win over mountain rival UNC Asheville on Monday night.
James Sinclair has led the Catamounts through the first two games with 15.0 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. Tom Tankelewicz follows with 14.5 points per game, while knocking down 7-of-11 3-point field goal attempts in the early going.
WCU left Cullowhee roughly around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning to catch its first flight out of Atlanta. After a layover in Chicago the Catamounts landed in Portland and made the trek to Eugene. WCU will practice at Oregon Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday night's game.
The Ducks enter the game at 1-0 after a defeating Georgetown on November 8, 82-75, in South Korea at USAG Humphreys. Joseph Young poured in 24 points on 5-of-11 shooting and knocking down all 12 of his free throw attempts; Jason Calliste was also a perfect 11-for-11 from the line.
WCU and Oregon have never met on the hardwood. The Catamounts are 0-1 against members of the Pac-12, an 82-67 lost to Arizona State on December 2, 1983. WCU is 0-37 all-time against nationally ranked opponents including a 0-33 mark in road contests; Oregon is the 10th ranked WCU opponent under head coach Larry Hunter with the last game against Georgetown, then ranked No.15, on December 15, 2012 an 81-68 loss.
The game can be found on the Pac-12 Network through your local cable provider.
WCU Men's Basketball 2013-14 Notes
Sinclair Handles the Point Early in 2013-14
In his first two games as the starting ball handler, junior James Sinclair has averaged 15 points per game after 13 points in the opener against Wittenberg (11/08) and 17 points against UNC Asheville (11/11) with shooting splits of .385/.300/.875 ... He also averages 4.5 assists per game and 4.5 steals per game.
Catamount Defense Steals the Show
WCU's defense has picked their opponents pocket early and often in the 2013-14 season ... The Catamounts average 13.5 steals per game after 14 steals in the opener against Wittenberg (11/08) and 13 against UNCA (11/11).
Catamount Bench, All Sophomores, Shines in the Season Opener
Torrion Brummitt led the unit off the bench with a career-high 12 points and six rebounds to go along with his 12 points ... Guard Mike Brown scored 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe ... Brown and fellow guard, Rhett Harrelson, each handed out three assists ... Not all of the Catamounts' bench production came in the form of points forward Justin Browning had three steals and three blocks to go along with two points and two assists on the offensive end.
Catamounts Road Warriors for Second Season
After playing 10 road matches out of 13 games in the first two months in 2012-13, the Catamounts open with 10 road games out of 14 games in the first two months of the 2013-14 season; WCU went 4-9 over those opening 13 games last season ... Trips to No. 19/18 ranked Oregon of the Pac-12 and to Virginia Tech of the ACC highlight the early season road games; the roughly 2,662 miles from Cullowhee to Eugene, Oregon is the longest trip by the Catamounts since 2008-09 season when the team played in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska ... It is the longest trip WCU has taken for a single-game in program history.
More on WCU's Opening Season Slate
The Virginia Tech game is the opening game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic; the tournament continues with three games host by Kent State ... Niagara and USC Upstate are also in the tournament ... WCU plays seven teams that played in the 2012-13 postseason; Oregon was the Pac-12 Tournament Champion and played in the NCAA Tournament, Kent State appeared in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, Niagara was in the NIT, Wright State played in the College Basketball Invitational, Charleston Southern was another NIT team, Elon played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and Davidson represented the SoCon in the NCAA Tournament.
Home-Sweet-Home in the Ramsey Center
Western Carolina has won 56 of its last 71 home games dating back to the end of the 2007-08 season ... Over the past FIVE seasons, WCU is 54-15 at home ... During Larry Hunter's tenure, the Catamounts are 77-30 inside the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center.
Season Opener Special to Head Coach Larry Hunter
The season opener against Wittenberg on Friday, November 8 at 7 p.m. hits close to home for head coach Larry Hunter ... Hunter, who spent three season as an assistant and 13 as the head coach at Wittenberg, led the team to the NCAA Division III National Championship and was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1976-77.
Sumler Named Preseason All-Southern Conference
Trey Sumler picks up his third preseason all-conference selection in his four-year career as a Catamount ... Last season Sumler earned All-Southern Conference First Team honors as voted on by league's media and coaches at the end of the year and was named SoCon All-Tournament Team following the league's tournament.