Nov. 21, 2012
Cancun, Mexico - Tom Tankelewicz drained a pair of free throws in the final second to break the game's fifth tie to lift Western Carolina over Howard, 69-67, to take third place in the Mayan Division at the 2012 Triple Crown Sports Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort.
Erasing a 10-point WCU second half lead, Howard tied the game on a driving lay-up by Simuel Frazier with nine seconds remaining in regulation. On the ensuing possession, the Catamounts put the ball in the capable hands of redshirt junior point guard, Trey Sumler. The Rocky Mount, N.C., native drove at the right elbow against the Bison defense, constricting the zone which forced 20 WCU turnovers.
With the defense collapsing, Sumler then dished back to Tankelewicz who gave a shot fake then moved to his left around his defender to get a shot. On his attempt, the Apex, N.C., native was fouled by Frazier with one second remaining, stepped to the foul line and sank both charity tosses to propel WCU to the victory.
All told, the Catamounts shot a season-high 80-percent from the free throw line, connecting on 16-of-20 attempts in the victory.
Tankelewicz finished with 17 points and five assists, while junior post Tawaski King added 19 points and Trey Sumler netted 17 for the Catamounts (2-4), who snapped a three-game seasonal slide. Sumler added six assists and four steals with Brandon Boggs rounding out four in double figures with 11 points and three steals.
Simuel Frazier scored a game-high 23 points for the Bison. Prince Okoroh netted 17 points and Tre Lee poured in 14 for Howard (0-5), which remained winless on the season. Mike Phillips finished with eight points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Western Carolina (2-4) closed the first half on a 13-to-5 run to take a 30-27 lead at the break before opening the second half with an 11-to-4 push to jump ahead by double digits, 41-31. However, Howard answered with a 9-1 run to close the gap to 42-40, but the Catamounts scored the next four points to regain some cushion.
The Catamounts were able to maintain at least a four-point lead from there until Frazier finished a old-fashioned three-point play and after a pair of free throws from Boggs, Lee drained a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to make it a 65-63 game.
WCU then went 2-for-4 from the charity stripe over the next two possessions before the Bison pulled even on Frazier's layup with nine seconds left. But Frazier fouled Tankelewicz with one second left on the other end and he connected on both free throws for the win.
The Catamounts were able to convert 19 Howard turnovers into 26 points while the Bison scored 19 second chance points on 14 offensive rebounds.
Western Carolina returns to action on Nov. 28 as it opens Southern Conference play in Greenville, S.C., against the Furman Paladins. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm from Timmons Arena.
Trey Sumler Garners All-Tournament Honors
Western Carolina redshirt junior point guard Trey Sumler picked up Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team honors on Wednesday afternoon following the conclusion of play in the Mayan Division. Sumler averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game in the two contests in Cancun, scoring a team-high 16 points in the loss to Austin Peay and following it up with 17 points against Howard.
Sumler averaged 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and two steals per game in Mexico. He finished 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the floor including 4-of-7 (57.1%) from beyond the arc and shot 83-percent from the charity stripe, 5-of-6.
Gardner-Webb claimed the tournament divisional championship with a 72-62 win over Austin Peay.
2012 Cancun Challenge - All-Tournament Team:
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Simuel Frazier, Howard
Chris Horton, Austin Peay
Travis Betran, Austin Peay
Max Landis, Gardner-Webb
Donta Harper, Gardner-Webb