CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina men's basketball team returns to the Ramsey Center Saturday night for a clash with rival Wofford at 7 pm. The Terriers and Catamounts have ended each other's Southern Conference Championship runs six out of the last seven seasons. Wofford has defeated the Catamounts four times at the SoCon Tournament while the Catamounts have knocked off the Terriers twice including a double-overtime thriller in last season's quarterfinal round. Wofford is coming off one of its biggest wins of the season on Wednesday as the Terriers knocked off SoCon leader UNCG at home 93-74. The Catamounts on the other hand are coming off a tough loss at Furman and have won just one of their last eight regular season contests. WCU has a slight 27-25 edge in the overall series history with Wofford after defeating the Terriers twice in a nine day span late last season. The game will be carried on ESPN3 with audio coverage on the Catamount Sports Network.
Western Carolina (6-15, 1-7 SoCon) vs. Wofford (9-12, 4-4 SoCon)
Saturday, Jan. 28 | 7 p.m. | Cullowhee, N.C. | Ramsey Center (7,826)
TV/Video Stream: ESPN3
Talent: Daniel Hooker (PxP) and Jeff Bryson (Analyst)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
Talent: Gary Ayers (PxP)
Live Stats: CatamountSports.com
Audio Stream: Catamount Sports Network
Twitter Updates: @Catamounts
WCU vs. Wofford Opening Tip:
The Catamounts are looking for their second win of 2017 Saturday night while the Terriers are looking to win their fourth game in the last five contests.
WCU faced the Terriers three times last season including in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Southern Conference Championship. WCU's top returning scorer from those three contests is sophomore Marc Gosselin who averaged 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season. Elijah Pughsley and Devin Peterson each averaged 5.0 points per contest against the Terriers.
The Catamounts and Terriers have faced 10 similar opponents this season including Mars Hill, Miami (Fla.), Mercer, The Citadel, Chattanooga, Samford, Furman, VMI, ETSU and UNCG. WCU is 2-8 in those contests with wins over Mars Hill and The Citadel while Wofford went 5-5 with their wins coming against Mars Hill, Mercer, Furman, VMI and UNCG.
The Terriers enter Saturday with high confidence after knocking off SoCon leader UNCG 93-74 Wednesday evening. Wofford's two top scorers this season, Fletcher Magee (16.6) and Eric Garcia (14.1), averaged 21.0 and 9.7 points per game, respectively, against the Catamounts last season.
The Catamounts hit the road for their final three-game road swing of the season on Monday.
WCU will travel to Macon, Ga., to battle Mercer to open the road trip Monday night at 7 pm.
Catamounts Versus Terriers
The Catamounts and Terriers series goes all the way back to the 1948-49 season when the Catamounts lost 70-42 in Spartanburg in the first meeting between the two programs.
WCU leads the all-time series 27-25 after knocking off the Terriers twice in a nine-day span at the end of last season including a double-overtime victory in the Southern Conference Championship Quarterfinals.
The Terriers and Catamounts have ended each others SoCon Championship hopes in six of the last seven years. Wofford has defeated the Catamounts four times at the SoCon tournament while WCU has defeated Wofford twice in that span including last season.
WCU's win over the Terries in Cullowhee last season ended a six game winning streak by Wofford in the series.
Making It Rain
From Jan. 2 to Jan. 19 freshman Onno Steger and sophomore Elijah Pughsley were sharpshooters from beyond the 3-point arc.
The pair combined to hit 31-of-51 3-pointers (60.8%) over the span of five games. Pughsley averaged 14.4 points per contest over the span while Steger scored at a 10.0 points per game clip.
Pughsley nailed 18-of-30 3-point attempts (60.0%) while Steger connected on 12-of-21 attempts (61.9%).
The pair struggled in the two most recent contests with Mercer and Furman hitting just two of their combined 17 3-point attempts.
Helping One Another
The Catamounts had a Division I season-high 19 assists at VMI (WCU dished out 20 assists against Mars Hill).
Junior Devin Peterson surpassed his career-high of five assists in the opening 20 minutes as he handed out six assists. Peterson was limited in the second half due to cramps and finished with a career-best seven assists.
Sophomore Elijah Pughsley tied his career mark with five assists while Haboubacar Mutombo came up just one assist short of his career mark with four.
The Catamounts matched the 19 assists mark against The Citadel as Devin Peterson once again excelled at sharing the ball.
Peterson dished out a career-high 10 assists in the contest becoming the first Catamount with 10 or more assists since Trey Sumler had 10 assists against Niagara during the 2013-14 season.