Sumler, Tankelewicz Squeeze Catamounts by Saints, 78-69

CATAMOUNTSPORTSDOTCOM Trey Sumler (5) gives WCU a 70-69 lead over Limestone with 1:12 remaining with this dunk.  (Photo by Mark Haskett, WCU Public Relations)
Trey Sumler (5) gives WCU a 70-69 lead over Limestone with 1:12 remaining with this dunk. (Photo by Mark Haskett, WCU Public Relations)

Nov. 26, 2013

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Trey Sumler scored 20 of his game-high 28 points in the second half including 14 of the final 16 points in the final three minutes for the Catamounts as Western Carolina rallied to survive an upset bid from Limestone, 78-69, Tuesday night in a nonconference game in the Ramsey Center.

After trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, 53-41, and down by seven points, 66-59, with 5:35 left to play, Western Carolina strung together a 9-2 run to tie the game at 68 two minutes later. Threes by Sumler and Tom Tankelewicz and a three-point play by Sumler accounted for all nine of WCU's points during the stretch.

Limestone momentarily retook the lead with a free throw -- a point that would later prove to be the Saints' final point of the game -- by Josh Oden, but a Sumler fast-break dunk following a James Sinclair steal gave the Catamounts a 70-69 lead with 1:12 left. It was the Catamounts' first lead since the 2:57 mark in the first half and the last time they would trail in the contest.

Following a Limestone timeout, WCU got a defensive stop and Sumler was sent to the line where he made both his free throws to give the Catamounts a 72-69 lead with 22 seconds remaining.

The Catamounts forced a turnover from Limestone's PJ Foster, who fouled Tankelewicz on the loose ball scrum with 1.3 seconds to play. Before the ensuing Tankelewicz free throws, Limestone's Odem and Jamal NcNeill were assessed technical fouls. Sumler went to the line and made all four of the technical foul free throws, and Tankelewicz converted both of his free throws from the original foul to give WCU (5-4) the 78-69 win.

Sumler's 28 points came on an efficient 9-of-17 shooting from the floor. The senior guard, who earlier in the day was named Southern Conference Player of the Week, made three of his five 3-point attempts and seven of his nine shots from the charity stripe. Tankelewicz, who finished with 18 points - 12 of which came in the second half - on 5-of-10 shooting from long range and all three of his free throw attempts. The duo combined for 32 of the Catamounts' 47 second half points, including the final 19 points over the last 5:29.

Play in the first half started off sloppy as WCU led by only four points, 16-12, midway through the period. Limestone fought back and pulled even at 18 with 7:36 left in half on fast break layup by Odem. The basket came following one of 11 WCU first half turnovers that resulted in eight Limestone points.

Three and a half minutes later, the Catamounts had regained a narrow lead, 27-22, following back-to-back Trey Sumler 3-point field goals. However, the Saints closed out the final 4:17 of the half with a 13-4 run to take a 35-31 lead into the break.

The Catamounts ended the game with 15 turnovers -- handing the ball over to the Saints only four times in the second half. However, Limestone ended the game with 14 turnovers after just six in the first half. The Saints eight second half turnovers resulted in 17 points for the Catamounts.

Limestone outshot WCU from the floor, 40 percent compared to 36 percent. The Catamounts made 12 of their 33 attempts from behind, while the Saints hit nine of their 26 attempts. WCU held a significant advantage on the boards, 51-37, including a 23-11 margin on the offensive glass.

WCU's bench held a 28-5 scoring advantage with all 28 points coming from Tankelewicz and Mike Brown, who tallied 10 points and was the final Catamount in double-digits.

Limestone placed four of its five starters in double-figures with Foster leading the way with 22 points. Foster was 8-of-17 overall and 6-of-13 from three, including several from well behind the arc. Odem followed with 16 points, while Asaad Woods notched 13 points. Shaq Dance picked up a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the Saints losing effort.

The Purple & Gold hit the road for a three-game road swing that starts at Wright State on Saturday, November 30 at 3 p.m. After a stop at Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, December 4, the Catamounts head back to the state of Ohio for the third time -- their fifth and final game in the Buckeye state -- against Cleveland State on Monday, December 16.

Western Carolina vs. Limestone Game Notes
- Earlier Tuesday Trey Sumler was named Southern Conference Player of the Week by the conference office.

- WCU won the opening tip for the sixth time this season ... The Catamounts scored first on a Brandon Boggs layup ... It was the sixth time this season WCU scored first in a game ... WCU is 5-2 when scoring first.

- Limestone scored the first points of the second half; it was the sixth time this season WCU gave up the first points of the second half.

- Kenneth Hall had five blocks in the game tying a career-high ... Hall has recorded at least one block in seven of the first nine games ... He has three multiple block games -- Wittenberg (11/08), at Virginia Tech (11/15) and Tuesday against Limestone;

- WCU's 10 blocks was the first time since 11 blocks against Campbell on December 10, 2009 that the Catamounts had 10 or more team blocks ...

- With a three from the right corner with 6:40 in the first half, Tom Tankelewicz has recorded a 3-point basket in eight of the WCU's nine games ... Tankelewicz finished with five 3s in the game;

- Tankelewicz converted WCU's first four-point play of the season with 14:40 on the clock in the second half with a three from the left corner.

- The Catamounts made 12 3-point field goals in the game ... The total was a season-high and the second time this season WCU hit 10 or more 3s in a game ... WCU made 10 vs. Niagara on November 22.

- Brandon Boggs grabbed a season-high ten rebounds ... He is the first Catamount this season to grab double-figure rebounds.

- WCU has played nine games through the first 18 days of the season ... The Catamounts are tied with FIU, who is 6-3, and Savannah State, who is 2-7, as the only three teams in the NCAA who have played nines up to this point of the season ... Savannah State played Tuesday night, a 65-661 loss to the North Florida ... FIU played its ninth game on November 24, an 84-72 loss to South Carolina.



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