Nov. 17, 2010
HIGHLIGHTS OF GAME (AUDIO)
Rosemont, Ill. - Harouna Mutombo led all scorers with a game-high 17 points as Western Carolina led start-to-finish, upending DePaul, 69-64, Tuesday night at the Allstate Arena. The Catamounts built a 21-point second half lead before hanging on down the stretch against the Blue Demons' full-court pressure to score the victory.
Coupled with last season's road win over Louisville in Freedom Hall, Tuesday's win was WCU's second-straight over teams currently in the Big East Conference. WCU is now 2-11 all-time against current Big East teams.
"I thought we took a lot of steps forward tonight, and I'm very pleased with that," said sixth-year head coach Larry Hunter during post-game comments on the Catamount Sports Network. "The guys really, really competed and the effort, that's where I think it really all starts. We wanted to play with great passion and great effort tonight."
WCU won the battle on the glass, outrebounding DePaul, 48-to-34, including a 17-to-7 edge in offensive boards in the winning effort. The Blue Demons forced 17 Catamount turnovers while only committing 12, but the Catamounts recorded six blocked shots - two inside the closing moments of the game.
In addition to Mutombo's 17 points, senior guard Mike Williams poured in a season-high 13 points for the Catamounts while freshman Brandon Boggs posted his first career double-digit scoring outing with a career-best 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers and a game-high seven rebounds.
Senior Richie Gordon and redshirt freshman Trey Sumler - who in addition to Williams was charged with handling the Blue Demons' full-court pressure - both chipped in eight points with Gordon adding a pair of blocked shots. Freshman Tawaski King scored seven points in big minutes off the bench for WCU.
Back-to-back buckets by Gordon including a one-handed slam dunk in transition sparked the Catamounts to an 11-to-2 run to open the game, taking a lead they would never relinquish. The Blue Demons closed to within four points, 19-15, with 7:44 remaining in the first half, but WCU outscored DePaul 16-to-8 to close the half with a 12-point, 35-23, edge at the break.
Western Carolina (1-1) opened the second half like it did the first with an 11-to-2 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer by Williams to take a game-high, 21-point lead three and a half minutes into the frame. The Catamount edge remained double digits until the final four minutes with Brandon Young took over the DePaul, scoring eight-straight points.
WCU's lead was trimmed to five points four times inside the final four minutes, but each time the Catamounts were able to answer.
Young pulled DePaul to within five on a lay-up, but Mutombo answered on the ensuing possession with a lay-up to stretch the lead back to seven. Two free throws by Young again trimmed the margin to five at the three-minute mark. The Catamounts failed to answer immediately, but a blocked shot by Mutombo on the opposite end kept the score where it was with Boggs nailing a jumper to stretch the advantage back to seven.
Gordon gave the Catamount defense its second-straight blocked shot at the 1:42 mark to preserve the five-point advantage, with WCU connecting on 7-of-11 free throw attempts - including 5-of-6 by Sumler - to seal the victory from the charity stripe.
Young led two DePaul players in double figures with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Krys Faber tallied 10 points in the loss.
Western Carolina travels to Texas to face UTEP in the first game of the Legends Classic this Saturday, Nov. 20 before opening its home schedule on Monday, Nov. 22 against the Warren Wilson Owls in the Ramsey Center.
Season tickets for WCU's 2010-11 home schedule start as low as $50 for the 12 home dates and are available online at www.CatamountSports.com or by calling (800) 34-GOWCU.