Nov. 29, 2008
Box Score |
Anchorage, Alaska -
Freshman guard Greg Avery came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points, including 13 in the second half alone, as Western Carolina evened its seasonal record with a 76-62 win over Louisiana Tech in the consolation semifinal of the 2008 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout at the Sullivan Arena.
WCU advances to face Northern Illinois (3-3) - a 71-68 winner over NCAA Division II host, Alaska-Anchorage on Friday - in the fourth-place game of the consolation bracket. Tip-off from the Sullivan Arena is set for 2:00 pm local time, 6:00 pm ET.
Fans can follow Saturday's game, as well as the remainder of the tournament, with live video streaming through www.GoSeaWolves.com.
In addition to the play of Avery -- who was named Player of the Game for his career performance -- the Catamounts (2-2) also received big performances from junior swingman Brandon Giles, who had 15 points and four boards, and junior forward Jake Robinson, who tallied 11 points to stretch his consecutive double-digit scoring outings to nine-straight games dating back to last season. The Canton, N.C., native, moved into sixth-place all-time on WCU's career 3-pointers made chart with one trey on Friday, giving him 143 all-time to surpass Terry Boyd (1991-92).
Junior point guard Brigham Waginger kept the WCU offense flowing smoothly with eight points and six assists while also swiping three steals, with freshman Keaton Cole adding a career-best eight points off the bench.
Thursday's hero, red-shirt freshman Harouna Mutombo, finished with seven points including two slam dunks with junior Adrian Gailliard - who moved back into the starting lineup in place of sophomore Richie Gordon who suffered a mild ankle sprain against San Diego State - finishing with seven points, four boards and two blocked shots.
"I was pleased with our response to last night's tough loss," said head coach Larry Hunter during post-game interviews. "I really like my team; they have a lot of character. I thought they would respond with a great determination and come out and get ourselves a win tonight. Overall, I thought it was a really good team victory for us."
Western Carolina (2-2) closed a nip-and-tuck first half that saw six ties and eight lead changes with a 7-0 run to claim a six-point, 29-23, halftime advantage.
With five straight points out of the locker room from Giles, WCU extended its run to 12-0 to stretch its lead to 11 just over a minute into the second stanza. However, La. Tech (2-3) responded with an 11-to-2 spurt of its own to trim the deficit to two points, 36-34, at the 16 minute mark.
Five minutes later, thanks to a pair of technical foul charity tosses by Robinson, the Catamounts ballooned their lead back into double-digits for good, with a Robinson two-point jumper providing WCU's largest advantage of the game at 23 points, 68-45, with seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Bulldogs were able to trim the deficit back to 14 points for the final margin, but never seriously threatened down the stretch.
Louisiana Tech center, Kenneth Cooper, led four Bulldogs in double figures with 13 points and five rebounds, while star guard Kyle Gibson managed 10 points on 3-of-3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
WCU out rebounded its opponent for the third-straight game holding a 34-to-29 edge on the glass against the Bulldogs.
NOTE: Among the 5,468 in attendance at Friday afternoon's two-game session was Alaska governor -- and former Republican Vice Presidential candidate -- Sarah Palin.