Nov. 22, 2011
Cedar Falls, Iowa -
Harouna Mutombo paced Western Carolina with a game-high 21 points while Trey Sumler chipped in 10, but that was nearly the extent of the Catamounts' offensive output on Tuesday night. Northern Iowa never trailed in handing WCU a 59-39 loss at the McLeod Center as a part of the on-campus portion of the South Padre Island Invitational.
Leading by 12 at the break, 29-17, UNI scored the first 10 points of the second half to build a 22-point lead it would never relinquish as the Panthers held WCU scoreless for over four and a half minutes out of the second half locker room. The Catamounts missed their first six shots from the field and turned the ball over twice before Mutombo connected on a jumper at the 15:18 mark of the half.
The Panthers' lead grew to as much as 35 points in the closing 20-minutes, but the Catamounts never gave in, scoring the game's final 15 points and keeping UNI off the scoreboard over the last 7:20 to provide the final tally.
Mutombo finished 8-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, adding five rebounds on the night. Sumler scored seven of his 10 points in the second half, netting both of WCU's season-low two 3-pointers.
All told, the Catamounts shot a season-worst 29.8-percent from the field and just 12-percent from long-range in the loss.
Sophomore Preston Ross came off the bench to lead the team with seven rebounds including three on the offensive end while classmate Brandon Boggs scored five points and boarded five missed shots.
Nine of the 12 Panthers that saw action recorded points for UNI (3-1) with freshman Seth Tuttle leading the way with a career-high 14 points and seven boards. Jake Koch finished with nine points and nine rebounds, adding four of UNI's five blocked shots and three steals and three assists.
Tied at six early in the first half, UNI used a 15-to-2 run to surge ahead by 13, 21-8. Eight of the Panthers' points during the run came in the paint. A short-lived, 7-to-1 spurt by the Catamounts closed the deficit to seven with possession of the basketball, but a missed jumper by Boggs was capitalized on by UNI and Koch with a 3-pointer to push the margin back to double-digits where it would remain.
UNI outscored the Catamounts 32-to-10 in the paint and held a slim, 32-26, edge in rebounding overall.
Western Carolina (2-3) travels to South Padre Island, Texas, for two games in tournament play at the SPI Convention Center. The Catamounts face Northern Colorado at 3:30 pm on Friday, Nov. 25 and either Florida A&M or Southern in the second game on Saturday afternoon.
- Western Carolina remained winless against Northern Iowa (0-2) and winless in the state of Iowa all-time - Iowa State (0-3), Iowa (0-2) ... WCU also dropped to 3-4 all-time against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference;
- Harouna Mutombo recorded his 55th career double-digit scoring outing on Tuesday night against UNI ... It was also his 27th time leading the Catamounts in scoring during his career and the 20th, 20-point scoring outing for the Pickering, Ontario native;
- Redshirt sophomore Trey Sumler recorded his seventh-straight, double-digit scoring outing dating back to last season ... the Rocky Mount, N.C., native is one shy of matching his career-long run of games in double figures;
- The 39 points were the fewest scored by a Larry Hunter-led Western Carolina team since being held to 35 by Illinois back during the 2007-08 season ... It is just the second-time in Hunter's tenure that WCU was held below 40 points in a game;