Dec. 7, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina and Appalachian State meet for the 178th time on the men's basketball hardwood on Saturday afternoon in the back-end of a Catamount hoops twin-bill on-campus in the Ramsey Center. Tip-off of the double-header night-cap is scheduled for 4:30 pm.
WCU's women (3-4) host Tennessee Tech (4-4) with a 2:00 pm tip-off. Read More
Both games on Saturday will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard locally on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee, 540 AM WRGC in Sylva and online at www.CatamountSports.com. For the men's game, 920 AM WPTL in Canton will pick-up the network feed as well. Roger Cote has the call in the women's game with Gary Ayers providing all the play-by-play in the men's game.
Both squads enter Saturday's SoCon men's North Division showdown - the earliest meeting between the two mountain rivals since 1984 - coming off road losses against nationally-ranked foes - albeit nearly a week apart. The 13th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini slipped past the Catamounts in Champaign, Ill., by a count of 72-64 last Tuesday while the Mountaineers have been off six days since falling at then-No. 16 Missouri back on Dec. 1, 72-56.
The longest active men's basketball series for both schools, Western Carolina trails in the all-time series, 66-111, but is within a game of tying the all-time series in Cullowhee, trailing 40-41. The two squads split the two meetings a season ago, both winning on their respective home courts. ASU took an 84-72 decision in Boone before the Catamounts closed out Senior Day with an 83-75 home victory behind a career-high 27 points from Trey Sumler - WCU's second-straight home win in the series.
Two of the top scoring teams featuring two of the top four leading scorers in the Southern Conference will be on display Saturday afternoon. The Catamounts and Mountaineers are tied for third in the league in scoring average at 72.6 points per game. ASU's Jay Canty ranks second in the league in individual scoring at 18.1 points per outing, while Sumler is fourth with a team-leading 16.6 point per game average.
For the Catamounts (3-6, 1-0 SoCon), five of their six losses have been by 11 points or less including the last three by eight-points or less. WCU won its conference opener, 79-65, over Furman in Timmons Arena back on Nov. 28 before falling in back-to-back games against unbeaten squads Eastern Kentucky (72-70 in Richmond, Ky.) and No. 13 Illinois. The Catamounts look to open league play at 2-0 for the second-consecutive season - and the fifth-time under eighth-year head coach Larry Hunter.
In addition to the tremendous guard play of Sumler, WCU has gotten consistent post play from junior forwards Tawaski King and Preston Ross. King has scored in double figures in every game thus far this season, stretching his consecutive double-digit scoring streak to a career-long 10 games. Ross paced the team with 17 points at No. 13 Illinois, his third, double-figure scoring outing of the season.
Appalachian State (1-6) has dropped six-straight games after opening with an 86-54 home win over Montreat College on Nov. 9. Mountaineer losses four road defeats (0-4) and two losses at the Holmes Center including a one-point defeat against Duquesne (Nov. 28) and a 22-point loss to the High Point Panthers in the season's second game (Nov. 13).
Saturday's game in Cullowhee is the league-opener for Appalachian State, one of just two teams yet to play a conference game entering this weekend - Wofford (0-0) hosts Davidson (1-0) in the only other match-up involving a league opener. ASU is 1-1 in SoCon openers under third-year head coach Jason Capel, winning last year over UNCG and falling the previous season at Chattanooga. It is also the first-time since 1979 that WCU and ASU have met in a SoCon opener for one squad or the other.
Tip-off of the men's game is scheduled for 4:30 pm.
- Prior to pre-game team introductions, WCU redshirt junior Trey Sumler will be recognized for eclipsing the 1,000 career point plateau, accomplished last Tuesday at No. 13 Illinois ... Sumler is the 40th different Catamount to surpass the 1,000 point mark and is already tied for 39th overall in school history, knotted with Wilson Scott (1,000 points, 1971-73).