CULLOWHEE, N.C. - With an 82-62 victory over Mars Hill Wednesday afternoon inside the Ramsey Center, the Western Carolina men's basketball improved to a perfect 5-0 at home in 2015. WCU placed four scorers in double figures led by senior Mike Brown who scored a game-high 22 points while also corralling seven rebounds.
The Catamounts and Lions opened the game a combined 0-15 from the field before a pair of free throws by senior Justin Browning opened the scoring at the 15:49 mark of the first half. From that point on the Catamounts never trailed as they cruised to the 20-point victory.
The win moves WCU's record to 5-8 on the year while the Lions fell to 5-7 overall.
Brown led all scorers with 22 points while senior Rhett Harrelson and freshman Elijah Pughsley each dropped 13. Both went 4-9 from the floor with Harrelson hitting four 3-pointers and Pughsley connecting on three. Harrelson led the team with six assists while collecting three rebounds while Pughsley grabbed four caroms. Both had two steals.
The final double-digit scorer was senior Torrion Brummitt who just missed out on a double-double with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Freshman Marc Gosselin collected seven boards to finish tied for second on the team with Brown while scoring four points.
All 15 Catamounts saw the floor Wednesday afternoon with redshirt freshman Devonte Fuller making his debut. Fuller played two minutes late in the contest and scored two points while collecting a pair of rebounds. Fuller joined the team following final exams in mid-December.
WCU dominated the glass as the Catamounts held a 54-35 advantage in rebounding while scoring 22 second chance points and limiting the Lions to just four second chance tallies.
The Catamounts shot 39.7 percent from the field in the game including 43.2 percent in the second half while limiting the Lions to just 33.3 percent in the game. Both teams excelled at the free throw line with MHU hitting 12-of-15 while WCU connected on 14-of-19.
WCU led by just seven at the halftime break and a 3-pointer early in the second half cut their advantage to just four but a slow and steady attack by the Catamounts eventually ballooned Mars Hill's deficit to 24 with 3:33 remaining in the game. A 3-pointer by Mars Hill with 19 second left proved to be the final basket of the game as WCU cruised to a 82-62 victory.
WCU will now turn its attention to conference play as the Catamounts host ETSU in both team's Southern Conference opener on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 2 pm.