Nov. 21, 2010
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Hunter Post-Game Comments (AUDIO)
El Paso, Texas - Mike Williams posted his third-straight, double-digit scoring effort with a season-best 18 points for Western Carolina, but it was not enough as UTEP downed the Catamounts, 77-65, in the Legends Classic Regional Round meeting Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP's Randy Culpepper made all four of his 3-point attempts en route to scoring 24 points to lead the Miners to the victory. Culpepper triggered a 14-0 run with eight-straight points as UTEP (2-1) scored the last five points of the first half and the first nine of the second, turning a 32-30 lead into a 46-30 cushion.
Three other Miners scored in double figures. Jeremy Williams and Julyan Stone chipped in with 11 points each and Christian Polk added 10. Stone has scored in double figures in three-straight games for the second-time in his UTEP career, tying his personal best streak in the process.
"I was pleased with the way we hung in there and the way we competed - the score is not indiciative of the way the game went with the intensity," said Larry Hunter. "I feel we executed better than we did in the DePaul game, we just didn't knock down any shots. This team just keeps getting better each time out on the court."
WCU's Williams finished 7-for-16 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers and three steals. He was joined in double figures by junior Keaton Cole with 10 points. The Toronto, Ontario, native bounced back from a 1-for-9 shooting performance at DePaul with a 3-for-5 night and was a perfect 3-for-3 from long-range.
Senior Blake Gallagher and redshirt freshman Trey Sumler both added in seven points for the Catamounts which concluded their three-game road swing to open the season.
WCU leading scorer Harouna Mutombo was held to just five points on 2-of-9 shooting while senior Richie Gordon was limited to two points with him and freshman Preston Ross tying for the team-leading six rebounds.
Despite holding just a one rebound edge, 33-to-32, UTEP scored well in the painted area, leading WCU by a 48-to-14 tally. WCU on the other hand forced UTEP into 23 turnovers, converting those into 25 points in the losing effort. The Catamounts also held a commanding 16-to-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
Western Carolina (1-2) returns home to open its 2010-11 home schedule on Monday, Nov. 20 against the Warren Wilson Owls. Tip-off of the first-ever meeting between the two schools is scheduled for 7:00 pm in the Ramsey Center.
The Catamounts will then travel to Williamsburg, Va., for the sub-regional round of the Legends Classic at William & Mary, facing Mercer (Nov. 26), Gardner-Webb (Nov. 27) and the host Tribe (Nov. 28) next weekend.