CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina men's basketball team will honor its three seniors, Deriece Parks, Kyle Rhoades and Charlendez Brooks, Saturday night as the top team in the Southern Conference, ETSU, comes to town. With just two games left on the regular season schedule WCU is trying to secure its spot in the Southern Conference standings while the Buccaneers are trying to capture their first Southern Conference regular season title since the 2003-04 season. WCU has lost 20-straight regular season meetings with the Buccaneers but upended ETSU in the 2015 Southern Conference quarterfinals. WCU is led by its two junior guards Haboubacar Mutombo and Devin Peterson who are each in the top-30 on the SoCon scoring charts this season. The Bucs are paced by senior guard T.J. Cromer who is second in the SoCon in scoring this season at 19.0 points per game. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with audio coverage on the Catamount Sports Network.
It's also Goodwill Day on Saturday. If you donate an item for Goodwill you'll be able to purchase a ticket to the doubleheader for just $5. Donation items include clothing, shoes, linens, handbags, belts, small appliances, lamps, books, computers and electronics. Just bring your donations to the Southwest gate on game day.
Western Carolina (8-21, 3-13 SoCon) vs. ETSU (23-6, 13-3 SoCon)
Saturday, Feb. 25 | 7 p.m. | Cullowhee, N.C. | Ramsey Center (7,826)
TV/Video Stream: ESPN3
Talent: Daniel Hooker (PxP) and Kyle Rush (Analyst)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
Talent: Gary Ayers (PxP)
Live Stats: CatamountSports.com
Audio Stream: Catamount Sports Network
Twitter Updates: @Catamounts
WCU vs. ETSU Opening Tip:
The Catamounts and Buccaneers meet for the second time this season Saturday night. Western Carolina fell to ETSU 75-52 in the first meeting this season and was held without a double-digit scorer. The Buccaneers shot over 70 percent from the field in the opening half as they cruised to a double-digit victory. The Buccaneers two starting forwards combine to go 11-of-11 from the field for 26 of ETSU's 75 points.
ETSU has dominated the recent history in the all-time series having won the 20 most recent regular season meetings. WCU halted a 17-game skid against the Bucs with a 67-61 overtime victory over ETSU at the 2015 Southern Conference Tournament. ETSU holds a 51-25 edge in the series and has won 22 of the 36 games played in Cullowhee.
WCU will honor its three seniors prior to the tip-off Saturday night. Charlendez Brooks, Deriece Parks and Kyle Rhoades will all be honored.
Fresh off an overtime win at home over Furman, ETSU comes to Cullowhee atop the SoCon standings by a half game over the Paladins. Led by the SoCon's second-leading scorer in guard T.J. Cromer (19.0 ppg), the Bucs have the second-highest scoring offense in the league (81.0 ppg).
The Catamounts close out the regular season at home Monday night.
WCU will welcome in VMI for a 7 pm game inside the Ramsey Center as both teams wrap up their 2016-17 seasons.
WCU Versus ETSU
The Catamounts and Buccaneers series goes all the way back to the 1930-31 season when the Catamounts fell 52-31 to the Buccaneers.
ETSU won four of the first five recorded meetings between the two teams and has gone on to lead the overall series 51-25 including winning the last 20 regular season match-ups.
WCU last win in Cullowhee over the Buccaneers came on Jan. 26, 1998 as the Catamounts defeated the Bucs 76-71. The win was the last of a five-game win streak for the Catamounts in the series, which also marks WCU's longest win streak of the series.
The last WCU win in the series was a 67-61 overtime victory in the 2015 Southern Conference quarterfinals. The win by the Catamounts snapped a 17-game winning streak by the Buccaneers, the longest in the series.
Junior Devin Peterson, redshirt junior Haboubacar Mutombo and Marc Gosselin are all averaging in double-figures over the six most recent contests.
Peterson and Gosselin have each surpassed their career-highs during the span while Mutombo has come up just three points shy of his.
Peterson is leading the way with 15.0 points per game over the span after scoring nine at Samford, 12 at Chattanooga, 20 against UNCG, 22 versus Furman, 15 at Wofford and 12 at The Citadel.
He has knocked down five of his 13 3-point attempts over the span while playing all but 36 of the 240 minutes.
Mutombo has played all but 31 minutes of the last five games and finished with 19 points at Samford, 17 at Chattanooga, 17 against UNCG, nine versus Furman, eight at Wofford and 12 at The Citadel for an average of 13.7 points per game.
Mutombo connected on 37-of-66 field goal attempts (56.1%) over the six games and 2-of-6 3-point shots.
Gosselin is averaging 11.2 points per game after scoring nine at Samford, seven at Chattanooga, 11 versus UNCG, 16 against Furman, 10 at Wofford and 14 at The Citadel.
The sophomore is also averaging a team-best 8.5 boards per contest in the stretch with a high of 13 at The Citadel.