CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina men's basketball team will begin its quest for the 2017 Southern Conference Championship Friday night as the No. 8 seeded Catamounts will take on No. 9 seed The Citadel at 5 pm inside the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. The Catamounts have won two of their last three games and are playing some of their strongest basketball of the season. Sophomore Marc Gosselin has posted three-straight double-doubles and is entering the tournament following a 7-of-8 shooting night against VMI in which he was a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range. WCU has advanced to two of the last five SoCon Championship games and is seeking its first title since the 1996 squad captured the crown led by current assistant coach Anquell McCollum. WCU has made an appearance in eight-straight quarterfinals and a win on Friday would extend that streak to nine.
All the tournament games will be streamed on ESPN3 with the championship airing live on ESPN2 and the Catamount Sports Network will provide audio coverage throughout WCU's run.
Western Carolina will hold a pregame pep rally at 3 pm at Mountain Madre, in the location formerly known as Scully's Bar and Grille, in downtown Asheville.
Western Carolina (9-22, 4-14 SoCon) vs. The Citadel (11-20, 4-14 SoCon)
Friday, March 3 | 5 p.m. | Asheville, N.C. | U.S. Cellular Center (7,200)
TV/Video Stream: ESPN3
Talent: Pete Yanity (PxP) and Dean Keener (Analyst)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
Talent: Gary Ayers (PxP) and Daniel Hooker (Analyst)
Live Stats: CatamountSports.com
Audio Stream: Catamount Sports Network
Twitter Updates: @Catamounts
WCU vs. The Citadel Opening Tip:
• The Catamounts swept the Bulldogs this season and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two programs. Junior Haboubacar Mutombo averaged 17.0 points per game against The Citadel over the two games this season while junior Devin Peterson scored 16.0 a game.
• WCU is 3-1 all-time against the Bulldogs in the Southern Conference Championship including winning the three most recent contests. The last time WCU and The Citadel met in postseason action came in 2013, a 76-61 WCU victory in the first round.
• The Catamounts have won two of their last three games heading into the SoCon Championships. It is just the second time this season WCU has won two out of a three game set. The Catamounts have yet to win back-to-back contests this season.
• Sophomore Marc Gosselin has posted three-straight double-doubles, the first three of his career, and is coming off a career-high 20 point performance against VMI.
• The Citadel is coming off two-straight wins over Samford and Chattanooga. The wins ended an 11-game losing skid for the Bulldogs. The Citadel enters with the second ranked scoring offense in the country led by Preston Parks who is averaging 18.0 points per game. Parks averaged 23.5 ppg. against the Catamounts.
Catamounts and Bulldogs
• The Catamounts and Bulldogs history dates back to the 1977-78 season.
• The all-time series is led by WCU 37-35 after Western Carolina's sweep of the Bulldogs this season.
• The Catamounts have a 3-0 edge in the series when the game is being played at a neutral site.
• The Catamounts had an eight game win streak in the series snapped last year in Cullowhee. The eight wins is the longest winning streak by either team in the series. The Citadel won five in a row from 2009-2011.
WCU in the SoCon Tournament
• The Catamounts have advanced to two of the last five SoCon Championship games.
• WCU is 24-37 all-time in SoCon Tournament action including 5-9 in first round games.
• WCU has participated in every SoCon Tournament since 1978 expect for 1988 when it did not qualify.
• WCU has won one SoCon Tournament which came in 1996.
• The last time WCU played a first round game was in 2013 which happened to be the last time WCU played The Citadel at the SoCon Championships.
• The Catamounts have made eight-straight quarterfinal appearances.
Gosselin Goes Off
• Sophomore Marc Gosselin has produced three-straight double-doubles to close out the regular season. The first three double-doubles of his career.
• He began with 14 points and 13 rebounds against The Citadel, followed by 15 points and 10 boards versus ETSU and concluding with a career-high 20 points and 12 rebounds versus VMI.
• Over the three games he is averaging 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per contest.