CULLOWHEE, N.C. - For just the third time this season, the Western Carolina men's basketball team will have home court advantage as the Catamounts host High point Tuesday night for the final non-conference contest of 2017. The Catamounts snapped a six-game losing streak to the Panthers last season with a victory in Cullowhee. The game will also feature the annual Teddy Bear Toss at halftime to support the Christmas Connection of Jackson County. The Catamounts are winners of two of their last three contests and hope to keep that momentum going heading into conference play. The Panthers on the other hand have lost two of their last three including a 70-58 setback at College of Charleston on Dec. 4, a team WCU lost to 69-60 on Nov. 30. The Catamounts had another newcomer step up in their last victory as freshman Marcus Thomas scored a career-high 21 points to lead WCU to victory.
Western Carolina (4-7, 0-0 SoCon) vs. High Point (4-6, 0-0 Big South)
Tuesday, Dec. 19 | 7 p.m. | Cullowhee, N.C. | Ramsey Center (7,826)
Catamounts Versus Panthers
The Catamounts and Panthers have met 69 times on the hardwood with High Point holding a 45-24 advantage in the series.
The Catamounts snapped a six-game losing streak in the series last season with a 70-65 victory in Cullowhee.
Tuesday night's contest will be the third meeting between the two squads over the past three seasons despite only meeting twice in the previous 45 seasons prior to that. The majority of the series match-ups came prior to 1970.
The series dates all the way back to the 1934-35 season. The Panthers won the first meeting 37-33.
WCU Versus Big South
Tuesday night's game will mark the second of back-to-back meetings for the Catamounts against a Big South opponents.
WCU defetaed Big South foe UNC Asheville Sunday afternoon.
Western Carolina has an extensive history against many current members of the Big South Conference. The Catamounts have played all but two members of the conference at least once in men's basketball. The only two the Catamounts have not faced are Longwood and Winthrop.
The Catamounts are currently 100-80 in games against current members of the Big South.
Freshman Marcus Thomas made the most of his opportunity Sunday afternoon inside the U.S. Cellular Center.
The Mint Hill, N.C., native came into the contest with three career points, two of which came in the season opener at Clemson, and exploded for a career-high and team-leading 21 points in the victory. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and finished 7-of-11 from the field.
Through the first 11 games of the season all four Western Carolina newcomers have scored 17 or more points in a game.
Junior transfer Mike Amius leads the way with three games with 19 or more points including a team-season best of 22 points against College of Charleston.
Freshman Marcus Thomas' 21 point performance against UNC Asheville is tied for the second-most points scored by a Catamount this season behind Amius.
Freshmen Matt Halvorsen and Desmond Johnson poured in 18 and 17 points, respectively, against UMass earlier this season.
All four newcomers are a threat to lead the team in scoring anytime they step foot on the court.
Junior transfer Mike Amius has had a string of strong performances against College of Charleston, Appalachian State and UNC Asheville.
Over those three contests, the junior averaged a team-high 20.0 points per game while grabbing 7.7 rebounds per contest. He shot over 65 percent from the field and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
He scored a career-high 22 points while knocking down six of his eight shot attempts and nailing 10 of his 12 free throws in the close loss to College of Charleston.
He added seven rebounds, an assist and a block to his total as well.
Amius scored 13 of WCU's first 15 points in the game as he kept the Catamounts ahead of the Cougars early on.
The magic continued against Appalachian State as Amius slammed home the go-ahead basket with seven seconds left in the game.
He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in the victory.
Against UNC Asheville, Amius once again let the dunking do the talking as he slammed home a pair of baskets in the final minutes of the victory while converting an old-fashioned 3-point play with under 10 seconds to play.
He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds in the win.