Feb. 24, 2012
Related Video Link: Catamount seniors share their memories
Cullowhee, N.C. - Tournament seeding is on the line on Saturday afternoon as Western Carolina hosts archrival Appalachian State in the front-end of a Catamount hoops double-header. Tip-off of the Southern Conference regular season finale for both men's basketball squads is scheduled for 2:00 pm from the Ramsey Center. All fans are encouraged to wear purple to both games on Saturday.
Saturday's men's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard locally on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee and 920 AM WPTL in Canton. Fans can also listen to live streaming audio (free) through Stretch Internet or catch the live video stream through Catamount All-Access (subscription required) online at www.CatamountSports.com.
Entering the game, Western Carolina (13-17, 7-10 SoCon) can still earn a first-round bye in next week's SoCon tournament. A Catamount victory over Appalachian State, coupled with an Elon loss (at home to UNCG) and a Samford road loss (at Chattanooga) would create a three-way tie for second place with WCU holding the tie-breaker with a 3-1 seasonal record amongst the three teams.
Western Carolina can still finish anywhere from second to fifth-place in the final standings depending upon the outcome of the three North Division games on Saturday. (More on SoCon Tournament scenarios below).
Prior to tip-off on Saturday, Western Carolina will honor its three members of the 2011-12 senior class in a special pre-game ceremony as Keaton Cole, Harouna Mutombo and Sam Smithsonall play their final regular season home games for the Purple & Gold.
Cole and Mutombo have keyed Western Carolina to its current season-long tying winning streak of three-straight games. Cole has averaged a team-best 20.7 points per game during the current streak with all 19 of his made field goals coming from beyond the arc including a career-best nine of WCU's school-record matching 17 in Thursday night's win over Samford. The Toronto, Ontario, native became the Catamounts' single-season record holder for 3-pointers, currently with 100 triples on the year.
Mutombo has chipped in 17.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during the run, opening the streak with 24 points against The Citadel. He enters his final home game ranked 12th in school history with 1,478 career points, just 22 shy of moving into the school's all-time top 10.
Additionally, redshirt sophomore Trey Sumler has averaged 13.7 points, five rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in the three-straight wins, while classmate Tawaski Kingis averaging a team-best 10.3 rebounds.
Appalachian State (12-16, 7-10 SoCon) had its two-game winning streak snapped last Wednesday night as The Citadel Bulldogs claimed their second-straight victory, shooting 50-percent from the floor to down the Mountaineers, 62-51. ASU's Andre Williamson scored a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.
All told, Appalachian has lost five of its last eight games and has dropped five of its last six road games.
Meeting for the 177th time on the men's basketball hardwood - the longest active series for both schools - the Mountaineers lead the all-time series over Western Carolina, 65-111, including winning the first game this year in Boone, 84-72. The series in Cullowhee is closer with WCU trailing, 39-41, but with the Catamounts having won two of the last three including last season's thriller, 79-78, on Mike Williams'buzzer-beating jumper from the left wing.
Tip-off from the Ramsey Center is scheduled for 2:00 pm.
Southern Conference North Division Seeding Scenarios:
Only two seeds are locked in place in the SoCon's North Division - UNCG claimed the regular season divisional title by virtue of Elon's loss at Davidson on Thursday night, and Chattanooga is locked into the No. 6 seed from the North. All other seeding will be determined on Saturday:
- If WCU WINS and BOTH Elon and Samford LOSE, there will be a three-way for second place ... In that scenario, WCU would be the No. 2 seed and earn the first-round bye by virtue of a 3-1 record in the three-way head-to-head ... Samford would be third because of its regular season sweep of Elon with ASU fifth;
- If WCU LOSES to ASU, the Catamounts would finish 7-11 and be the No. 5 seed playing the first game of the tournament at 11:30 am on Friday against the South's No. 4 seed, College of Charleston;
- If ALL THREE - WCU, Elon and Samford - WIN on Saturday, WCU would finish FOURTH and play the South Division's No. 5 seed, Furman, at approximately 6:00 pm on Friday evening ... Samford would be the No. 2 seed because of its regular season sweep of Elon;
- If WCU WINS and EITHER Elon OR Samford WIN, the Catamounts would be the No. 3 seed and play the South Division's No. 6 seed, The Citadel, at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon ... WCU has the tie-breaker over both because of the regular season sweep over Samford while Elon was swept by the Bulldogs.