Nov. 25, 2009
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina matched its school-record for 3-pointers made in a single-game with over 10 minutes remaining on the clock Wednesday night against Duquesne. The Catamounts would drain two more triples to establish a new program benchmark at 17.
But it wasn't until an offensive rebound after a missed free throw, and a subsequent exchange of turnover, steal and lay-up that the Catamounts could begin to savor the accomplishment in the record books and the team's third-straight victory.
Senior Jake Robinson led Western Carolina with a career-high 25 points, matching his career-best with seven of the record 17 treys as the host Catamounts rallied to upend previously unbeaten Duquesne, 83-77, in the final game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in the Ramsey Center.
After trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, Western Carolina closed the opening stanza on a 10-0 run to pull to within three, 43-40, at intermission. The Catamounts claimed their first lead since the opening minute of the game at the 17:22 mark of the second half on a Mike Williams 3-pointer.
The Catamounts then went on to build their largest lead of the game at 14 in the second half only to see the Dukes chip away at the advantage with a 19-to-5 run, scoring six of the 19 from the free throw line.
Tied at 77 with 90 seconds to play, WCU's Harouna Mutombo sliced through the lane and drained a jumper, drawing a foul for an old-fashioned, three-point play opportunity. The Toronto, Ontario native could not connect from the charity stripe, but managed to corral the missed shot. Mutombo then had the ball stripped by Duquesne's Eric Evans only to have the sly Canadian take it back in transition and lay it in for his 10th point of the night and a four-point, 81-77 lead.
Richie Gordon slammed home a long, coast-to-coast pass inside the final 30 seconds to provide the final tally, 83-77, and give the Catamounts their third-straight win this season.
WCU has won seven-straight games inside the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center, and has been victorious in 17 of its last 19 home games dating back to the 2007-08 season.
Between the 10-0 spurt to end the first half and the opening five minutes of the second half, the Catamounts outscored Duquesne 23-to-2, while forcing three turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting from the floor.
In addition to Robinson's 25 points and team-high eight rebounds, three other Catamounts recorded double-digit efforts as senior Brigham Waginger added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting beyond the 3-point arc, with Mike Williams scoring a dozen to complement Mutombo's 10. Waginger dished out a career-high tying seven assists and swiped three steals, while Mutombo passed out six helpers, also with a trio of takeaways.
Duquesne (4-1), which knocked off Big Ten foe Iowa on the road in the opening round of the CBE Classic, put five of the seven players it played into double figures. Sub-regional All-tournament team selection, Bill Clark, led with a game-high tying 25 points, including 12-of-13 from the free throw line. B.J. Monteiro scored 15 points, with Eric Evans, Jason Duty and Damian Saunders each scoring 11 points in the loss.
Saunders tallied his fifth double-double of the season, including third of the sub-regional, with 11 points and 15 rebounds, adding five assists and four steals.
The Dukes raced out to an early lead, pushing their advantage into double digits four minutes into the game at 15-3. WCU composed itself to close the game to within three, 23-20, by outscoring Duquesne, 17-8, over the next seven minutes. The visitors then responded with an 11-2 spurt to balloon their advantage to 12 and eventually a game-high 13 on a trey by B.J. Monteiro.
However, following Monteiro's triple, the Catamounts finished the opening 20 minutes by reeling off 10-unanswered points including Robinson's fourth and fifth 3-pointers of the half, a pair of free throws by Williams and a lay-up in traffic by Blake Gallagher.
The Catamounts got 24 points off its bench in the first half including 15 by Robinson, who was named to the Cullowhee Sub-regional All-tournament team.
WCU finished 17-of-35 from the 3-point arc in becoming the first team to shoot better than 40 percent from the field against the Dukes this season (45.5%).
Western Carolina, off to its best start since the 2006-07 season when it also opened up 4-1 through its first five games, will try for its first road win on Saturday, Nov. 28, as it travels to Boiling Springs, N.C., to face the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at 7:00 pm.
- Western Carolina head coach Larry Hunter earned his career victory No. 563 with the win over Duquesne;
- With his seven treys on Wednesday night against Duquesne, senior Jake Robinson now has 205 made 3-pointers in his career ... He remains third on WCU's career 3-pointers made chart, TWO shy of second-place Casey Rogers (207 from 1999-2002) and 40 behind all-time leader, Anquell McCollum (245 from 1993-96);
- Robinson also now has 941 career points, just 59 shy of surpassing the 1,000-point plateau ... Senior Brandon Giles, who eclipsed the milestone a season ago, currently has 1,056 career points to rank 32nd in WCU's record books, 22 points behind Bennie Goettie (1988-89) for 31st all-time;
- Senior Brigham Waginger recorded three steals on Wednesday night versus Duquesne to give him an 207 for his career ... Waginger is now just 14 steals behind WCU Hall of Famer and all-time steals leader, Henry Logan (221 from 1965-68).
O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic
Cullowhee Sub-regional All-tournament team: