Dec. 21, 2013
Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia outscored Western Carolina 14-4 over the final five minutes of play as the Bulldogs survived the Catamounts upset bid Saturday afternoon in a nonconference game in the Stegeman Coliseum.
Neither team could pull ahead in the first half, which featured nine ties and five lead changes. The ninth tie came at the buzzer on a layup by Kenny Gaines to even the score at 29.
WCU sprinted out of the break with an 8-0 run to take a 37-29 lead two and a half minutes into play highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Trey Sumler and Brandon Boggs. Sumler and Boggs ended the game as the Catamounts' leading scorers with 21 points and 12 points respectively.
The Catamounts held the lead and even led by as 10 points, 57-47, following another Boggs triple with 7:13 remaining. The basket would be WCU's last field goal for the next six minutes as UGA went on an 14-1 run to take a 61-58 lead following a deep three from Nemanja Djurisic with a minute and a half to play.
WCU ended the drought from the field following a Sumler basket. Sumler was fouled on the play and converted the bonus free throw to retie the game at 61 with 72 seconds left. Djurisic answered with a layup and the Catamounts got two pressure packed free throws with the crowd of 6,069 cheering against him from Tom Tankelewicz to give the game its 12th tie at 63 with 20 seconds.
On the ensuing Bulldog possession, Charles Mann drove wildly through the lane, but was bailed out following an off balanced shot when a Catamount was whistled for the foul. The foul, with 2.5 second showing, was WCU's 26th foul of the game compared to only 13 whistled against UGA. Mann, who was 3-of-9 from the line before the free throws, calmly converted both from to give the Bulldogs a 65-63 lead. UGA attempted 38 free throws, converting 24 of them, for 63 percent, while WCU only attempted 10 free throws knocking down eight of them for 80 percent.
The Catamounts' last second heave at the buzzer came up short as the Bulldogs escaped with the 65-63 win.
WCU ended the game 44 percent, 23-of-52, from the field and was 41 percent, 9-of-22, from behind the arc. UGA shot 50 percent overall and from three as the Bulldogs went 18-of-36 from the field and 5-fo-10 from long range.
Sumler finished the game for the Catamounts 8-of-12 overall and 4-of-5 from three to earn his 21 points. He also handed out five assists and collected five rebounds.
Kenny Gaines, who hit five of his seven field goal attempts including three 3-pointers, led UGA in scoring. Gaines also made all four of his attempts from the charity stripe. Mann chipped in 13 points, and Brandon Morris added 11 points off the bench, highlighted by a 7-of-10 performance from the line.
WCU will play its last game of the 2013 calendar year at home against Milligan on December 30 at 7 p.m. before opening Southern Conference play against UNCG in the Ramsey Center on January 2 at 7 p.m.
Western Carolina at Georgia Game Notes
- Senior Josh Mendenhall made his first career start Saturday.
- Trey Sumler scored his fifth 20-point game this season.
- WCU falls to 0-6 against Georgia ... The 65-63 final score was the closest game of the series;
- The Catamounts to 2-36 all-time against the SEC.