Nov. 22, 2013
Kent, Ohio - Tawaski King poured in a season-high 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor for the Catamounts as Western Carolina dropped a 72-59 road loss to host Kent State in the first of three games in the M.A.C. Center for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
King, who averages 9.5 points per game, has scored in double-digits in the past two games after scoring 10 points against Liberty. King's 8-of-15 shooting for a 53 percent field goal percentage was slightly above his season mark of 52 percent. He also collected a season-high nine rebounds in the loss.
Trailing 11-9, six minutes into play, WCU took off on a 9-0 run that was sparked Trey Sumler fast-break layup following a James Sinclair steal. The Catamount run carried WCU's lead out to 18-11 following a King three-point play with 7:55 showing on the clock in the first half. Kent State's Kellon Thomas knocked down a jumper to halt the WCU spurt at the seven-minute mark; his made basket ended a seven and half minute stretch for the Golden Flashes without any points.
The jumper also sent Kent State on a 16-4 run over the final seven minutes of the first half as the Golden Flashes carried a 27-22 lead at the break. WCU's only field goal during the Kent State rally was a Kenneth Hall dunk - created when Mike Brown forced a turnover underneath the Golden Flashes' basket -- two minutes before the halftime buzzer.
Four and half minutes into the second half, WCU trimmed Kent State's lead down to three points, 37-34 following a Brandon Boggs three-point play, but the Golden Flashes took the lead out to double-digits for the first time, 47-36, with 11:40 left following a Chris Ortiz jumper in the paint.
A minute later a Justin Browning free throw and three by Tom Tankelewicz pulled the Catamounts within seven points, 47-40, but Kent State quickly recovered with a 9-0 run sparked by five points from Mark Henniger. Henniger had a three-play during the run as Golden Flashes pushed the lead back 56-40 with 7:30 left on the clock. Kent State held the lead over the final seven and half minutes to earn the 72-59 win.
After a sluggish first half, the Purple & Gold recouped to shoot 36 percent from the floor, 22-of-61, while Kent State went 23-of-61 overall for a 38 percent field goal percentage. The Golden Flashes went 24-of-30 from the free throw line as Kent State attempted 13 more free throws than the Catamounts. WCU made 11 of its 17 attempts from the charity stripe.
Boggs chipped in with 12 points for WCU. With his 995 career points following Thursday's game, Boggs continues to inch towards becoming the 43rd Catamount to cross the 1,000-point mark.
Kent State was led by Henniger, who tallied 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Kris Brewer and K.K. Simmons added 12 points and 10 points respectively for the Golden Flashes.
The Catamounts (3-3) will play Niagara, who fell 83-74 in 5 p.m. game against USC Upstate, Friday at 5 p.m. back in the M.A.C. Center.
Western Carolina at Kent State Game Notes
- WCU lost the opening tip for the third time this season, but scored for the first points of the game for the fourth time this season on a Brandon Boggs jumper.
- Josh Mendenhall saw his first action of the season with seven minutes in the game ... Mendenhall had his suspension lifted on Wednesday ... Mendenhall also scored his first points of the season in the game.
- Kent State scored the first points of the second half; it was the third time this season WCU gave up the first points of the second half.
- Tawaski King's eight made field goals tied a career-high for the senior forward; his 15 field goal attempts set a new career-high;
- King's 17 points and nine rebounds were a season-high.
- WCU was outrebounded 49-39 ... It was only the second time in six games the Catamounts had a negative rebounding margin... Virginia Tech outrebounded WCU 46-32, a +14 margin;
- The Golden Flashes also held a 20-16 advantage in offensive rebounds ... VaTech was the only other team to collect more offensive rebounds than WCU, 14-13.
- WCU yielded three double-digit scorers for the fourth straight game ... No. 18 Oregon, VaTech and Liberty each had three players score 10 or more points.
- James Sinclair ten minutes, nine in the first half and one in the second half, due to an upper leg injury ... He is questionable for the Niagara game.