Jan. 4, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina opens the 2013 portion of its schedule by jumping back into Southern Conference play, visiting South Division foe, The Citadel, in Charleston, S.C. Tip-off from McAlister Field House is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 6:30 pm. Fans can catch all of the action live locally on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee; 540 AM WRGC in Sylva; 920 AM WPTL in Canton; and online through Stretch Internet at www.CatamountSports.com.
The Catamounts and Cadets square off for the 63rd time on Saturday evening in the only scheduled match-up in the regular season. The Bulldogs lead the series, 28-34, including an 8-21 record in Charleston. WCU took both meetings a year ago - downing The Citadel in Cullowhee, 70-53, in the only scheduled meeting before starting their march to the SoCon Championship game with a 68-56 win at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.
WCU's two-straight wins last season snapped a five-game losing skid in the series - the longest consecutive game winning streak for the Bulldogs. The Catamounts will look to snap another ominous drought on Saturday as The Citadel has won four-straight series games over the Purple & Gold in Charleston and McAlister Field House. WCU last tasted victory over The Citadel in Charleston in February of 2007 - a 10-point, 78-68, victory.
WCU (4-9, 2-0 SoCon) will look to shake off the dust from the gut-wrenching, one-point home loss to Liberty from New Year's Eve - the Catamounts' fifth-straight loss on the final day of the year. The defeat also relegated Western Carolina to its second three-game skid of the season, last winning over SoCon rival, Appalachian State nearly a full month ago on Dec. 8. The win over the Mountaineers did give the Catamounts a 2-0 start in league play for a second-straight season - and the fifth-time under head coach Larry Hunter.
The Catamounts look to start 3-0 in league play for just the fourth-time since joining the league in 1977-78 - and the first-time since 2008-09.
Road warriors over the first two months of the 2012-13 season, the Catamounts have played 10 of their first 13 games away from Cullowhee. Posting two victories in non-home games, WCU has only one win in a true road game - a SoCon-opening, 79-65, victory at Furman (Nov. 28). Over the past three outings, the Catamounts have had a 20-point scorer as Tom Tankelewicz poured in a career-high 24 points in the road loss at nationally-ranked Georgetown before Trey Sumler has scored 23 points for WCU in back-to-back contests.
Much like WCU, The Citadel (3-8, 0-1 SoCon) is also struggling to find victories. The Bulldogs have dropped seven-straight contests - going 0-for-December, last winning on Nov. 17. Despite having three victories, only one has come against a NCAA Division-I foe - an 84-76 home win over their military rival, VMI, on Nov. 10 in the season-opener.
During The Citadel's current seven-game slide, the Bulldogs have been beaten by an average of 28.1 points per game - a mark that has grown to a 37.7 point differential in the last three road games against St. Bonaventure (L, 97-57), at Georgia Tech (L, 73-41) and at Clemson (L, 92-51).
The Bulldogs roster features 11 underclassmen, but is led by senior post Mike Groselle. The Plano, Texas, native leads the SoCon in field goal percentage at 56.5-percent and ranks seventh with a 15.0 point per game average. He is the SoCon's second-best rebounder at 7.8 rebounds per game including a league-leading 3.2 offensive boards per game. In four games against WCU in his career, Groselle is averaging 17.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Groselle is the lone Bulldog averaging in double figures as The Citadel is scoring just 63.9 points per game this season. However, true freshman Matt Van Scyoc is just below the double-digit threshold at 9.9 points per outing - fifth among SoCon freshmen in scoring. The Green Lake, Wisc., native is averaging two 3-pointers per game on 37.5-percent shooting.
Again, the tip-off from McAlister Field House is scheduled for 7:05 pm.