Thursday, January 16, 2020

Pack the RAC - Saturday night.

The Road to Asheville - Wed. Results (1-15-20)

Here's a look at the results of  Wednesday night's conference action. The Western/Furman contest did not disappoint, as it was an all-out fight to the end.

Western Carolina at Furman
Furman's Jordan Lyons scored 20 points to lead Furman past Western Carolina 83-79.  Late in the game, Lyons made 4 of 5 free throws and Clay Mounce added another to make it 79-71 with less than a minute to go. Alex Hunter made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to offset a couple 3-pointers. Carlos Dotson scored 21 points on 10 of 14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for Western Carolina Matt Halvorsen and Onno Steger scored 14 points apiece and Faulker had 12 points and 10 assists. To know the real story of this game, just look at the free-throw totals. Furman went to the line for 25 attempts, making 19 points, while the Catamounts were held to just 8 total attempts for the entire ball game. This is one game the SoCon head of officials should seriously review, no wonder Furman wins in the Timmons Arena.

Wofford at Chattanooga
In the surprise of the night, Chattanooga's David Jean-Baptiste scored 18 points and Matt Ryan had 17 points as Chattanooga rolled past Wofford 72-59. Ramon Vila added 14 points for the Mocs, who up their conference record to 3-2. Nathan Hoover had 20 points for the Terriers and Storm Murphy added six assists. Chattanooga scored the first 10 points and never fell behind the entire game. The Mocs shot 53% and made 7 of 14 3-pointers in the first half. Wofford shot 31% and made only eight field goals in the first half.

UNCG at The Citadel
The Spartan's James Dickey posted 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead UNCG over the Citadel, 79-69. Isaiah Miller had 14 points for the Spartans and Angelo Allegri added 13 points. Fletcher Abee put up 20 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, whose losing streak now stretches to five games. Brady Spence added 17 points. Kaiden Rice had 13 points and six rebounds.

Samford at ETSU
The Bucs' Tray Boyd scored 16 points off the bench to lead ETSU to an 88-63 win over Samford. This win increased the Buc's home victory streak to 11 straight wins in the Freedom Center. Joe Hugley had 14 points for ETSU and Lucas N'Guessan added 12 points and Daivien Williamson had 11. Josh Sharkey had 18 points and three assists for the Bulldogs and Robert Allen added 12 points. Jalen Dupree had seven rebounds.

VMI at Mercer
Mercer's Djordje Dimitrijevic scored 26 points as Mercer picked up their first conference win as they defeated VMI 73-62. Ethan Stair had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the Bears. Jeff Gary added 11 points. Travis Evee put up 17 points for the Keydets whose losing streak has now stretched to 7 games. Greg Parham added 13 points. Jake Stephens had 12 points.

The rankings -
1.  5-1 ETSU (tie)
1.  5-1 Furman (tie)
3.  4-1 Western Carolina
4.  4-2 UNCG
5.  3-2 Chattanooga (tie)
5.  3-2 Wofford (tie)
7.  2-3 Samford
8.  1-4 Mercer
9.  0-5 Citadel
10. 0-6 VMI


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Game #16 - at Furman

In the sixteenth game of the season, the Catamounts travel to Travelers Rest to face the Furman Paladins who are currently tied for second place in the conference standings with ETSU after the Paladins were defeated in Greenville on Saturday night.

Game #16 - Furman Paladins

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at 7:00 pm
Where: Timmons Arena (3,500)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcer: Daniel Hooker (PxP)
TV/video: ESPN+
-announcer: Dan Scott (PxP), Bryant Lambert (color)
Live Stats: Furman Live Stats
Fan Message Board:
The Series: The series between Western and the Paladins started back in 1977 and trail 29-46 in the series against Furman. Western owns a 9-27 record against the Paladins in games played at Furman.
Furman's 2019-20 record: 14-4 overall, 7-1 home, 4-1 SoCon

Furman was tabbed to finish third in preseason polling of the SoCon’s coaches and media but has led the conference this season, until their defeat by UNCG Saturday night. The Paladins are 62-23 under the direction of third-year head coach Bob Richey.

Furman's seven-game winning streak and their perfect start in league play ended Saturday night with UNCG's 86-73 win over the Paladins. Furman had moved up to No. 3 in last week’s College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 following their victory over ETSU last weekend. Furman sports a 58-12 overall home record and 32-6 mark versus SoCon opposition at home since the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Furman has won 15 straight regular-season non-conference games at Timmons Arena and 17 of its last 18 non-conference clashes in that facility.

Currently, Furman ranks third in scoring offense, right behind the Catamounts, scoring an average of 77.8 points per game (ppg), and comes in third in scoring defense, giving up 65.4 ppg. The Paladins have 4 players scoring in double figures. Led by Jordan Lyons, hitting 16.8 ppg, then Noah Gurley at 14.2 ppg, followed by Clay Mounce with 13.5, and finally Mike Bothwell with 10.2 ppg.

Furman Probable Starters
Senior/Guard - Jordan Lyons, 5'11"  190
Junior/Guard - Alex Hunter, 5'11"  185
Junior/Forward - Clay Mounce, 6'7"  205
Soph/Forward - Noah Gurley,  6'8"  210
Soph/Forward - Jalen Slawson,  6'7"  210

Monday, January 13, 2020

SoCon Power Rankings (1-13-20)

Monday, January 13, 2020

This is the fifth power ranking of the season, after the second full week of conference action and 10 weeks of SoCon basketball.

1. (3) ETSU

2. (4) UNCG

3. (1) Furman

4. (5) Western Carolina

5. (2) Wofford

6. (7) Chattanooga

7. (6) Samford

8. (8) The Citadel

9. (10) Mercer

10. (9) VMI

Last week's ranking in parentheses


The Road to Asheville (1-15-20)

Week eleven action tips off on Wednesday night, with five conference games on the schedule. For the first time this season, all ten teams will have a mid-week conference game.  The big game for the night will be in Timmons Arean, as the Catamounts take their first-place record to Travelers Rest to meet the second-place Furman Paladins.

Western Carolina at Furman
The SoCon's first & second place teams face off in Timmons Arena on the campus of Furman University.  The Catamounts bring their 4-0 conference record into the game, the last undefeated team in conference play in the SoCon. Furman holds down the #3 position in last week's mid-major top 25 poll, while the Cats are listed in the others receiving points. Furman holds down the number one position on last week's power ranking, while the Cats come in at 5th place. The Paladins are coming off their first loss in conference play, against UNCG last Saturday in Greenville's downtown area, while the Cats extended their winning streak to 5 games and a perfect 4-0 conference record. Western Carolina comes into the game in second place in scoring offense with 82.4 points per game (ppg), while Furman comes in at third place with 77.8 ppg.  Massey projects a home-court advantage for the Paladins where they are 7-1 this season, final score 82-73 over the Cats.

Wofford at Chattanooga
The #4 Wofford Terriers travel to Chattanooga and the Roundhouse to face #6 Chattanooga. The Terriers are 3-1, with their only conference loss coming at the hands of ETSU in Johnson City, while the Mocs bring a 2-2 conference record, with losses to Furman and Western Carolina. The Terriers are listed as #2 on last week's power ranking, while Chattanooga comes in at #7. Wofford is #6 in the conference standing for offensive scoring, averaging 73.9 ppg, and fifth in scoring defense, give up 68.6 ppg. The Mocs come in at 9th place in scoring offense with 72.1 ppg and 4th in scoring defense, giving up only 66.3 ppg. Chattanooga is 6-1 at home this season, while the Terriers 4-5 on the road. This game is almost a toss-up, but Massey gives the edge to the visiting Terriers and projects a 70-69 win for the visiting team.

UNCG at The Citadel
The #5 UNCG Spartans travel to the SC Lowcountry to face the #8 Citadel Bulldogs in McAlister Field House. The Spartans are ranked #9 on last week's mid-major top 25 rankings. UNCG is coming off a huge win over the Furman Paladins last Saturday, and are now 3-2 in conference play. The Spartans have losses to Wofford and ETSU. The Bulldogs come into the game winless in conference action with a 0-4 conference record.  UNCG comes in 9th in the mid-major top 25 rankings, with the Bulldogs unranked in that poll. The Spartans are 4th in our conference power poll last week, while the Bulldogs come in at 8th place. The Citadel ranks #1 in the conference in scoring offense, posting 82.8 ppg, but comes in last in the standing for scoring defense, giving up 78,5 ppg.  Massey projects an 81-70 victory for the Spartans in Charleston.

Samford at ETSU
The #6 Samford Bulldogs travel to Johnson City, Tennessee to meet the 2d place ETSU Bucs in the Freedom Center where ETSU as ha perfect 10-0 record this season. The Bucs are 4-1 in conference action, with the only loss at the hands of Furman, while the Bulldogs are 2-2 in conference play, with losses to Wofford and Chattanooga. ETSU is ranked #7 in last week's mid-major top 25 poll, and Samford is unranked. In our conference power poll, ETSU is #3 in the rankings, while Samford comes in at #6. ETSU comes in 4th in the conference in scoring offense with 76.1 ppg, and second in scoring defense, giving up only 61.6 ppg, while Samford is 5th in scoring at 75.9 and 9th in defense, giving up 77.8 ppg. I'm not sure anyone in the conference will come out of the Freedom Center with a win this season, at least in the game Massey agrees with me, projecting a 78-62 Bucs win over the Bulldogs.

VMI at Mercer
In what may be one of the more interesting games of the night, last place VMI travels to 8th place, Mercer.  Both teams are winless in conference action, with VMI at 0-5 and Mercer at 0-4. The Bears are 4-4 at home this season, and VMI is 0-7 in road games. In last week's power ranking, the Keydets come in at #9, while the Bears are #10 in the ranking. Mercer ranks last in points at 71.1 ppg while giving up 72.5 places them at #7 in scoring defense. The Keydets are ranked 8th in scoring offense at 73.3 ppg, and 6th in scoring defense, giving up 68.8 ppg.  Massey projects a 76-71 win for the Bears at home over VMI. Someone will have a conference win after this game.

The rankings -
1.  4-0 Western
2.  4-1 Furman (tie)
2.  4-1 ETSU (tie)
4.  3-1 Wofford
5.  3-2 UNCG
6.  2-2 Samford (tie)
6.  2-2 Chattanooga (tie)
8.  0-4 Citadel (tie)
8.  0-4 Mercer (tie)
10. 0-5 VMI


Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Road to Asheville - Saturday results (1-11-20)

And then, there was one, that's one undefeated team in conference action, and that team is the Catamounts.

Week ten action produced one big surprise, the upset of the league-leading Furman Paladins. Western Carolina is now on top of the conference standings, at least until Wednesday night when the Cats visit Timmons arena to face some angry Paladins.

Samford at Chattanooga
Chattanooga's Ramon Vila scored a career-high 24 points as Chattanooga rolled over Samford 105-67 on Saturday. Matt Ryan added 20 points for the Mocs and had seven rebounds and six assists. David Jean-Baptiste had 19 points and eight assists for Chattanooga. Chattanooga shot 17 of 31 from the arc. Ryan was 6 of 7 from the arc and Kenic made all five of his three-pointers. Josh Sharkey had 21 points and five steals for the Bulldogs, both teams are now 2-2 in the conference.


ETSU's Patrick Good scored 12 points to lead the Bucs past VMI, 61-55. The Bucs now have a 10 game winning streak in the Freedom Center this season. Vonnie Patterson, Lucas N'Guessan and Tray Boyd III all scored 11 for the Bucs who shot just 35% from the floor and 25% from 3-point range. ETSU made 20 of 31 free throws (64.5%). Travis Evee had 13 points for the Keydets, who drop to 0-5 in conference games. Greg Parham added 12 points and Garrett Gilkesonadded 10 rebounds for the Keydets. VMI made just 19 of 48 shots overall (40%) and 7 of 21 from beyond the arc. The Keydets sank 10 of 11 at the foul line.

Mercer at Western Carolina

Western's Mason Faulkner scored a team-high 18 points, making 6 of 8 free throws in the final 34 seconds, the Cats extended their winning streak to five with a 79-71 win over Mercer. Matt Halvorsen added 16 points and Carlos Dotson added 12 points. Djordje Dimitrijevic scored a game and career-high 34 points for the Bears, making 10 of 19 field goals and 12 of 14 free throws almost single-handedly keeping the Bears in the game. Maciej Bender added 13 rebounds and three blocks for Mercer in the losing effort. Western is now the only undefeated team in conference play and now sits atop the conference standings.

The Citadel at Wofford
Citadel's Nathan Hoover scored 19 points to lead Wofford to 2 point victory over The Citadel, 73-71. Tray Hollowell added  12 points for the Terriers as they won their fifth straight home victory. Kaelon Harris scored a career-high 32 points for the Bulldogs in their losing effort on the road. The Bulldogs have lost four straight games, and are now 0-4 in the conference. Kaiden Rice, the Bulldogs' leading scorer scored only 3 points.

UNCG at Furman
UNCG's Isaiah Miller led five Spartan players in double figures as UNCG upset the number #1 Furman Paladins 86-73 in Greenville's downtown arena, breaking the Paladins seven-game win streak. Scoring in double figures for UNCG was Miller with 18 points, Kaleb Hunter with 15 points, Michael Hueitt Jr. put up 13, Angelo Allegri hit 11 and Mohammed Abdulsalam contributed 10 for the Spartans. Noah Gurley posted a game-high 27 points and 8 rebounds for the Paladins, as Mike Bothwell and Clay Mounce each added 13 points. It seems that UNCG's Coach Miller was much calmer this game, but did not sit out a suspension after being ejected from UNCG's game with ETSU on Wednesday night.

The rankings -
1. 4-0 Western
2. 4-1 Furman (tie)
2. 4-1 ETSU (tie)
4. 3-1 Wofford
5. 3-2 UNCG
6. 2-2 Samford (tie)
6. 2-2 Chattanooga (tie)
8. 0-4 Citadel (tie)
8. 0-4 Mercer (tie)
10. 0-5 VMI


Saturday, January 11, 2020

WCU Player of the Game (Mercer)

Purple & Gold's Player of the Game for the Mercer game is..........  
Xavier Cork

Freshman forward Xavier Cork came off the bench when Carolos Dotson was injured early in the first half of the Mercer game. Dodson came out of the game and to the locker room for the rest of the first half. Xavier played for 22 minutes replacing Dotson, scoring  8 points, hitting 4 of 6 field goals, pulled down 8 rebounds, 4 offensive and 4 defensive. Xavier also had 2 assists and 3 steals and 1 blocked shot.  

Honorable mention in the Mercer game goes to Mason Faulkner with 18 points, Matt Haverson with 16 points & Carlos Dotson with 12 points.  

Thanks to all the entire Catamount team for giving us a game to remember

Purple & Gold congratulates Xavier Cork on his accomplishments in Mercer game. We look forward to many more player of the game opportunities for you. 


Join the conversation and leave a comment below

Friday, January 10, 2020

Game #15 - Mercer in "Pack the RAC Day"

In the fifteenth game of the season, the Catamounts return to Cullowhee and the Ramsey Center where they are undefeated and own a 6-0 record this season. The Cats also bring in a 4 game winning streak, having just earned two road victories over The Citadel and VMI.

Game #15 - Mercer Bears

When: Saturday, January 11, 2020, at 5:00 pm
Where: Ramsey Center, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcer: Gary Ayers (PxP)
TV/video: ESPN+
-announcer: Daniel Hooker (PxP), Jeff Bryson (analyst)
Live Stats: WCU Live Stats
Fan Message Board: MU Bear Down
The Series: The series between Western and the Mercer started back in 1978 and Western owns an 8-9 overall record against the Bears. The two teams are tied 5-5 in conference play since 2015 when the Bears joined the Southern Conference. The Cats own a 4-3 record in games played in Cullowhee.
VMI's 2019-20 record: 6-10 overall, 2-4 away, 0-3 SoCon

Head Coach Greg Gary, in his first season at the helm of the Bears, had only two starters return from last season's 11-20 team. Not only did the Bears lose two seniors from last season, but they also lost 5 freshmen and one sophomore from that roster, possibly due to the coaching change.

So far this season, the Bears rank #9 in the SoCon in scoring offense, with 71.1 points per game (ppg), and number #7 in scoring defense, giving up 72.1 ppg. Senior Ethan Stair leads the squad in scoring (16.8) and is second in the SoCon in rebounding (8.9). He's shooting 47.2 percent overall including 39.6 percent from 3pt range, along with an 88.9 percent success rate at the free-throw line. - Djordje Dimitrijevic (14.6) and Jeff Gary (10.2) also average in double digits.

In SoCon play, the Bears are 0-3, but with close losses at home to Furman (64-62) and Chattanooga (61-70) and on the road at UNCG (72-63).  Mercer comes into the Ramsey Center with 2 straight losses.

This will be the second game of a doubleheader for the Catamounts, as the women's team faces ETSU at 2:00 pm.

So, it's "Pack the RAC" day in Cullowhee.  Come out and see the new digital scoreboard in the Ramsey Activity Center.

The Road to Asheville (1-11-20)

Week ten games continue on Saturday, with all ten teams playing in conference action.  At this point in the season, we have only two teams with no conference losses, Furman at 4-0, and WCU at 3-0, and three teams without a conference win, the Citadel & Mercer at 0-3 and VMI at 0-4. The day tips off at 2 pm and finishes up with two games starting at 7 pm.

Samford at Chattanooga
The day starts with the #4 Bulldogs paying a visit to the Roundhouse in Chattanooga, Tenn. to face the #7 Mocs. Samford is currently 2-1 on the season, with a loss to Wofford, while the Mocs are 1-2 in conference play with losses to Furman and Western Carolina. The Bulldogs come in at #6 in our power poll, while Chattanooga holds down the #7 position. The Bulldogs hold down the number 5 spot in the conference in scoring offense, averaging 76.5 points per game (ppg) but are giving up 76.2 ppg in scoring defense for 9th place. The Mocs are averaging 70.1 ppg, good for 10th place in the conference and are giving up an average of 66.2 ppg, good enough for 4th place. Samford is led by Josh Sharkey, averaging 18.6 ppg, good enough for 2d place in conference scoring, while the Mocs are led by Matt Ryan, with 14.1 ppg. Massey gives the Mocs a big home-court advantage and projects a 74-67 win by the Mocs over the Bulldogs.

At 4 pm, the last place Keydets will face the 3d place Bucs in Johnson City, Tenn. The Bucs are owners of a 9 game home winning streak, and the Freedom Hall has become one of the, if not the toughest places in the SoCon to play for a visiting team. After a loss to Furman last Saturday, the Bucs traveled to Greensboro on Wednesday, where they beat the Spartans. ETSU currently comes in at #7 in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, and us #3 in our conference power ranking. The Keydets are not ranked in the Mid-Major poll and holds down the #10 position in our power ranking. ETSU is currently in 4th place in the conference in scoring offense, posting 77 ppg, while giving up 61.9 ppg, for 2d place in scoring defense.  VMI is scoring 74.4 ppg (6th place) but is giving up 69.3 ppg (6th place). Massey projects an 82-59 win by the home team.

Mercer at Western Carolina
Mercer visits Cullowhee to face the Catamounts at 5 pm. The Bears are currently tied for 8th place in the conference standings with an 0-3 conference record, while the Cats are in 2d place with a 3-0 conference record. Currently, Western is in 5th place in the power rankings, while the Bears are in 10th place in those same rankings. Western holds the second place in scoring offense averaging 82.6 ppg, and 8th place in scoring defense, giving up 73.1 ppg. Mercer is in 9th place in scoring, at 71.1 ppg and 7th place in scoring defense, giving up 72.1 ppg. The Cats are also perfect at home this season, with a 6-0 home record, the Cats are also on a 4 game winning streak, while the Bears have lost 4 of their last 5 games and are on a two-game slide coming into the Ramsey. Massey projects an 83-72 win for the Cats.

The Citadel at Wofford
In the first of two evening games, the Bulldogs will travel to Spartanburg to face the Terriers. Wofford is currently tied for 4th place in the conference with a 2-1 record, while the Citadel, at 0-3 is ranked tied for 8th place. In this week's power ranking, Wofford comes at #2 while the Citadel comes in at #8. The Terriers are currently in 7th place in the conference in offensive scoring, averaging 74 ppg, and are #5 in scoring defense, giving up 69.4 ppg.  The Bulldogs are #1 in scoring offense, posting 83.6 ppg, and 10th in scoring defense, giving up 78.9 ppg. Should the visiting Bulldog, get hot with the three-point shot, anything can happen, however, Massey projects the Terriers defend the home court and pick up a 90-74 win over the Bulldogs.

UNCG at Furman
The second of the two evening games may well be the most anticipated of the day. Conference leader Furman, hosts the current #6 team in the conference rankings, UNCG. Both teams are in the top 25 of the Mid-Major Top 25 rankings, with Furman coming in at #3 and the Spartans at #9.  In our conference power rankings, Furman is also ranked #1, and UNCG ranked at #4. The Paladins are also undefeated at home this season, currently at 7-0, and bring in a 7 game win streak, while the Spartans are 2-2 in conference play, having dropped games to Wofford and ETSU. Massey projects a 69-63 win for the Paladin in Greenville at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Faulkner named to Lou Henson Award Watch List

Western Carolina redshirt junior forward Mason Faulkner was named to the Lou Henson Award mid-season watch list, it was announced by on Thursday.
The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the nation's top Division I mid-major player.

Faulkner, ETSU's Jeromy Rodriguez, Furman's Jordan Lyons and Samford's Josh Sharkey are the only SoCon student-athletes on the list which consists of 50 mid-major players in 22 conferences as well as independents.

The Road to Asheville - Wed. results

Lots of action in tonight's games, with the one big surprise in Wednesday's action, as UNCG's head coach is hit with two technical fouls and ejected from the game, possibly/probably costing the Spartans a victory or at least a chance to win.

In a game that could have gone either way, and with the score ETSU 58 - UNCG 57 and 23.8 seconds remaining on the clock, the Spartans have the ball, and as UNCG's Isaiah Miller drives for the basket a somewhat controversial call of offensive charging was made against Miller. ETSU immediately in-bounds the ball and calls a timeout. During the time out, Coach Miller approaches one of the referees during the time out, says a few words, then turns to walk away, as he turns he throws his clipboard to the floor and is immediately tagged with a technical. ETSU makes one of the two technical free throws, so the score now is 59-57 and as the ball is being walked back to the other end of the court for an in-bounds play by ETSU, Coach Miller is hit with the second technical and tossed from the game, there is still 23.8 seconds on the clock. ETSU hits the next two technical free throws and is give the ball at the far end of the court for the in-bounds play (it's 61-57) and the Spartans can not recover from the technical free throws, Bucs win 64-57.

Western Carolina at VMI
Mason Faulkner, Carlos Dotson, and Matt Halvorsen all three scores 20 points as the Cats beat VMI 97-85 for their second straight road victory. Faulkner also had 10 rebounds and nine assists just missing his second triple-double of the season, as Dotson grabbed 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double this season. Halvorsen made four of WCU's 11 3-pointers and Faulkner added three. Tyler Harris had 13 points for the Cats, now 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the Southern Conference. WCU totaled 59 second-half points, a season-high for the team.

Furman at Chattanooga
Furman's Mike Bothwell scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Paladins to their seventh consecutive win, topping the Mocs, 73-66 in Chattanooga. Furman held Chattanooga scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the second half as it turned a 50-47 deficit into a 61-50 lead. Jordan Lyons scored 16 points for Furman. Stefan Kenic had 15 points for the Mocs, whose four-game winning streak ended. Matt Ryan added 13 points, and Rod Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.

Wofford at Samford
Wofford's Nathan Hoover scored 22 points to lead the Terriers to a 67-62 win over Samford. After falling behind 35-32 at halftime, the Terriers outscored Samford 35-27 in the second half as they scored the game's last six points for the win. The game was tied 10 times in the second half, and the final period was a one-possession game until the very end. Samford only scored 27 second-half points, which was a season-low for the Bulldogs.

The rankings
1. 4-0 Furman
2. 3-0 Western
3. 3-1 ETSU
4. 2-1 Samford
4. 2-1 Wofford
6. 2-2 UNCG
7. 1-2 Chattanooga
8. 0-3 Citadel
8. 0-3 Mercer
10.0-4 VMI


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

WCU Player of the Game (VMI)

Purple & Gold's Players of the Game for VMI are..........  

Matt Halvorsen 
Mason Faulkner
Carlos Dotson

Tonight it's a three-way tie for "player of the game" as Mason Faulkner, Carlos Dotson, and Matt Halvorsen each scored 20 points as the Cats beat VMI 97-85 for their fourth straight win, and second straight road win.

Junior guard Mason Faulkner scored 20 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, just one assist short of his second triple-double this season. 

Senior forward Carlos Dotson scored 20 points, pulled down 13 rebounds, and 3 assists for his seventh double-double of the season. 

Junior guard Matt Halvorsen scored 20 points, pulled down 4 rebounds, and 2 assists and 2 steals.  

Thanks to all three of these Catamounts for giving us a game to remember.

Purple & Gold congratulates Mason Faulkner, Carlos Dotson, & Matt Halvorsen on their accomplishments in VMI game.


Join the conversation and leave a comment below

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Road to Asheville (1-8-20)

Week ten action continues on Wednesday night, with four conference games on the schedule.  At this point in the season, we have three teams with no conference losses, Furman at 3-0, and WCU/Samford at 2-0. Probably the most anticipated game of the four is between two teams with one loss each, which would be ETSU at UNCG.  All four games tip-off at 7 pm

Interestingly, these two teams are currently tied for fourth place in the conference standings, something neither team expected this early in the season.  ETSU is currently ranked 7th and UNCG 9th in the most recent mid-major top 25 poll and they ranked 3d & 4th respectively in our most recent power poll.  In scoring, ETSU is in 4th place with 77.8 ppg, and second in defense, giving up only 62.2 ppg, while the Spartans are ranked at 8th in scoring at 73.7 ppg and 1st in scoring defense, giving up only 57.ppg. UNCG is 14-16 against the Bucs all-time, but have won their past four meetings. Massey projects a home-court advantage for the Spartans with a 65-62 win over the Bucs.

Western Carolina at VMI
The Catamounts are seeking to improve their conference record to 3-0, as the #2 (tied) Cats travel to Lexington to face the #9 (tied) Keydets. VMI is one of the three teams that are currently 0-3 in conference play. The Cats are now receiving votes in the mid-major top 25 poll (13 points/38th) and the Keydets are unranked. WCU comes in at #5 in the current power rankings, while the Keydets are 9th in that ranking. The Cats are #2 in the conference in scoring offense with 81.5 ppg and 8th in scoring defense giving up 72.2, while VMI ranks 7th in scoring at 73.7 ppg and ranks 5th in scoring defense, giving up 67.6 ppg. WCU and VMI are two of the better 3=point shooting teams, ranking 2d and 3rd respectively, so a hot hand shooting the threes many well determine the outcome of this game. This will be the 61st meeting between the schools with WCU holding a 34-26 advantage, but the Keydets swept the Cats last season with three wins. Excluding a hot hand on the three-point shooting by the Keydets, Massey projects the Cats to win, 81-75 on the road.

Furman at Chattanooga
League-leading Furman travels to Chattanooga to face the #6 Mocs as two of the remaining undefeated teams in conference play will meet in the Round House.  The Paladins are ranked #3 in the most recent mid-major top 25, Chattanooga is unranked in this poll. The Paladins take the top spot in the most recent conference power poll while Chattanooga comes in at #7. The Paladins are currently 3d in scoring in the conference at 78.4 ppg and 3d in scoring defense, giving up 64.1 ppg, while the Mocs rank 10th in scoring at 70.3 ppg and 4th in scoring defense giving up 65.8 ppg.  The Paladins bring a 6 game win streak into the contest and are 5-3 on the road, with 3 OOC losses, while the home-standing Mocs bring a 4 game win streak to the contest, and are 5-0 at home this season. Chattanooga holds a 54-34 lead in the series between the schools, but Furman has won the last five meetings. Massey does not show that home court love for the Mocs and projects a 70-64 victory to the Paladins.

Wofford at Samford
The sixth-place (tied) Terriers travel to Birmingham to meet the second place (tied) Bulldogs in Wednesday night's fourth and final game. The Terriers are receiving votes in the mid-major top 25, as well as, the number two team in this week's power rankings, while Samford comes in at number 6 in that poll. The Terriers are 1-1 in the SoCon, having dropped a 1 point game to ETSU in Johnson City, then rebounded to pick up a  two overtime win over UNCG in Spartanburg. While Samford is 2-0 in conference play, the wins are against two of three last-place teams in the conference, so we don't know how they will fare against the top tier. Wofford is currently 6th in the conference in scoring offense at 74.5 ppg and 6th in scoring defense, giving up 68.9 ppg. Samford comes in 5th in scoring with 77.4 ppg and 9th in scoring defense, giving up 76.8 ppg. Massey projects a road win for Wofford, 81-74 over the Bulldogs.

The rankings
3-0  Furman
2-0  Western
2-0  Samford
2-1  ETSU
2-1  UNCG
1-1  Wofford
1-1  Chattanooga
0-3  Citadel
0-3  VMI
0-3  Mercer


Game #14 at VMI

In the fourteenth game of the season, the Cats remain on the road and will travel to Lexington, VA to face the Keydets on Wednesday, January 8.

Western is now 10-3 overall on the season, and 2-0 in the SoCon, while the Keydets are on a 4 game slide and are 0-3 in conference action.

Game #14 - VMI Keysets

When: Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at 7:00 pm
Where: Cameron Hall (5,000), Lexington, VA
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcer: Daniel Hooker (PxP)
TV/video: ESPN3
Live Stats: VMI Live Stats
Fan Message Board: Keydet Sportstalk
The Series:  The series between VMI and the Cats started back in 1978 and Western owns a 34-26 record with the Keydets.  The series is tied at 14-14 in games played in Lexington, as VMI completed a series sweep of the Cats in 2019 that includes a game in the SoCon tournament for three wins.
VMI's 2020 record:  5-11 overall, 4-4 home, 0-6 away, 0-3 SoCon

Head coach Dan Earl is in his 4th season with the Keydets and is fielding a young team in 2020. Through the first 15 games of the season, the Keydets are getting 47% of their scoring from four true freshmen, with guard Travis Evee leading the team with a 12.7 ppg average followed by Camdyn Curfman with 11.8 ppg, Louis Tang at 5.8 ppg, and Sean Conway at 5.1 ppg. The Keydets are a very good three-point shooting team, currently averaging 11.6 threes per game.

The Keydets come into this game on a four-game slide, as well as three losses in conference play. VMI is coming off a 3 point loss at home to Samford, despite a career-high of 22 points and a season-best 10 rebounds from senior guard Garrett Gilkeson. Currently, the Keydets are averaging 73.7 points per game, but are giving up 78.9 ppg. VMI ranks third in the conference in three-point shooting, hitting 37.9% of their attempts, but again, they are last in the conference in defending the three-point shot.

Probable Starters
Guard  Travis Evee, Fr. 6-0/165 - 12.7 ppg
Guard  Kamdyn Curfman, Fr. 6-0/170 - 11.8 ppg
Guard  Garrett Gilkeson, Sr. 6-4/215 - 9.9 ppg
Guard  Myles Lewis, Jr. 6-5/189 - 9.0 ppg
Center  Tyler Creammer, Sr. 6-10/260 - 3.6 ppg


Monday, January 6, 2020

SoCon Power Rankings (1-6-20)

Monday, January 6, 2020

This is the fourth power ranking of the season, after the first full week of conference action.  There is has been 9 conference games since the last ranking that directly impact this ranking.

Things will change rapidly now that we are in full conference play, good luck to all the SoCon teams.

1. (3) Furman

2. (5) Wofford

3. (1) ETSU

4. (2) UNCG

5. (4) Western Carolina

6. (7) Samford

7. (6) Chattanooga

8. (9) The Citadel

9. (10) VMI

10. (8) Mercer

Last week's ranking in parentheses


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Saturday SoCon Pack

The Road to Asheville (Saturday Results)

 Saturday's SoCon Basketball results (1-4-20)

As of Sunday morning, there remains only three teams without a conference loss, Furman at 3-0, WCU & Samford at 2-0.  At the other end of the standings, Mercer, VMI, & the Citadel all have three conference losses. If you missed the games on Saturday, you missed some great basketball, capped off by a double-overtime finish in Spartanburg.

Western Carolina at The Citadel
The Catamount's Onno Steger made 8 of 12 three-pointers, scoring 28 points, to lead the Cats past The Citadel 86-82 on Saturday as the Cats win their third straight game. Carlos Dotson completed his sixth double-double or the season as he grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 10 points. The Bulldogs' Fletcher Abee's three-pointer with about a minute left put The Citadel ahead 82-81, but Dotson made a layup and he and Mason Faulkner combined for three free throws before a 3-point try by The Citadel's Tyson Batiste with 5 seconds left missed, giving the Dogs their third straight loss.

Samford at VMI
In the day's other early game, Samford's Josh Sharkey scored 25 points as the Bulldogs edged VMI 78-75 in Lexington. Samford trailed 40-37 at halftime and 47-41 with 14:57 remaining in the second half. The Bulldogs took the lead for good at 54-53 and quickly pushed their advantage to nine points. Evee had 24 points for the Keydets who have now lost four consecutive games. Gilkeson scored a career-high 22 points and had 10 rebounds. Samford is now 2-0 and the Keydets are 0-3 in conference play.

ETSU at Furman
Both ETSU & Furman came in Saturday's afternoon game riding a five-game win streak and both were unbeaten in conference play but it was the Paladins who seized control with a 13-0 run late in the first half, as Furman defeated ETSU 65-56. The Paladins Jordan Lyons sank four 3-pointers for 14 points, Noah Gurley added 10 points with 12 rebounds. Bo Hodges had 12 points for the Bucs, whose five-game win streak was broken. Tray Boyd III, who entering the game was leading the Bucs in scoring, was held to 5 points (2 of 10) in 18 minutes.

Chattanooga at Mercer
The Mocs Matt Ryan & David Jean-Batiste each scored 17 points as Chattanooga held off the Bears for a 70-61 win to earn their first conference win. Mercer's Djordje Dimitrijevic made a 3-point field goal in each of his last 14 straight games, finished the game with 22 points as Maciej Bender added 14 points. The Mocs are now 1-1 in the SoCon while the Bears drop to 0-3 in conference play.

UNCG at Wofford
Saturday's nightcap game ended in double overtime, as the Terriers made free throws down the stretch to edge out the Spartans 98-92. UNCG's Keyshaun Langley hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime tied at 78, then Isaiah Miller's 3-pointer for the Spartans with 18 seconds left in the first OT tied the score at 86, forcing another overtime period. In the second overtime period, Wofford used 6-of-8 free-throw shooting and a Tray Hollowell layup to stay in front. Isaiah Miller paced the Spartans with 28 points. The Terriers are now 1-1 in conference play, while the Spartans are 2-1 in the SoCon.

The Standings
3-0  Furman 
2-0  WCU     
2-0  Samford
2-1  ETSU   
2-1  UNCG   
1-1  UTC     
1-1  Wofford
0-3  Citadel 
0-3  Mercer 
0-3  VMI     


Saturday, January 4, 2020

WCU Player of the Game (The Citadel)

Purple & Gold's Player of the Game for The Citadel game is..........  

Onno Steger

Senior forward Onno Steger scored a game-high 28 points against the Bulldogs, hitting 8 of 13 from beyond the arc, a blazing 66.7% of his attempts. He hit 9 of15 field golds for 60% of his attempts, and was perfect at the free-throw line, going 2-2. Onno also pulled down 8 rebounds (6 defensive, 2 offensive) and had one assist.   

Honorable mention goes to both Carlos Dotson who completed his sixth double-double of the season, with10 rebounds and 10 points, also, Mason Faulkner scored a total of 19 points, pulled down 7 rebounds, and had 6 assists, and 3 steals. 

Thanks to all three of the Catamounts for giving us a game to remember.

Purple & Gold congratulates Onno Steger on his accomplishments in The Citadel game.


Join the conversation and leave a comment below

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Road to Asheville (1-4-20)

Week nine action continues on Saturday with all ten teams scheduled for conference play. Going into play on Saturday, there are still 5 teams without a conference loss, ETSU, Furman, & UNCG at 2-0, and WCU & Samford at 1-0.  All ten teams have played at least one conference game at this point, and two teams have 2 losses, the Citadel & Mercer.

At 1 pm, two-games will tip-off play, Western at the Citadel and Samford at VMI.

Western at the Citadel
The 1-0 Cats travel to Charleston to face the 0-2 Bulldogs. The Citadel is 2-3 in their last 5 games, and are coming off two straight losses, including a narrow loss on the road at Samford on Wednesday, and the Cats bring a two-game win streak to the contest. The Cats are ranked at number four in this week's power rankings and the Bulldogs come in at number nine. The Bulldogs lead the league in offensive scoring, and this game may well come down to the team that is best able to hit their long ball shots, as both teams put up lots of three-point shots. Massey projects a 90-85 Western victory over The Citadel.

Samford at VMI
In the other early game on Saturday, the Bulldogs from Birmingham continue their mini-tour of military schools as they travel to Lexington to face the home-standing Keydets. The Bulldogs just pulled off a one-point win over the Citadel Wednesday, while the Keydets dropped a home game to the Paladins. Samford is holding down the seventh spot in our power rankings this week, while VMI comes in at number 10.  Massey projects that the Bulldogs pick up their second conference win in as many outing with a 78-76 win over the Keydets.

ETSU at Furman
Two of the remaining undefeated teams in conference play will faceoff in Furman's Timmons Arena on Saturday at 4 pm when the #5 Bucs meet the #9 Paladins as ranked by Collegeinsider' Mid-major Top 25. The last time out, Furman's Jordan Lyons scored a season-high 40 points, making 10 of 12 three-point attempts. Lyons singlehandedly scored almost as much as the entire Buccaneer team on their last outing (49) in their win over Wofford in Johnson City. Another poor start for the Bucs will spell doom in Timmons where the Paladins have rolled off 6 straight wins this season. The Bucs come in at the #1 position in this weeks power poll, while the Paladins come in at #3. Massey gives the home-court advantage to Furman, projecting a 71-68 victory over the Bucs. 

Chattanooga at Mercer
Two teams without a conference win up to this point in the season will meed in Macon Saturday afternoon. Chattanooga, the winner of three straight comes to Hawkins Arena to face off with the home-standing Bears, losers of 3 out of their last 4 games and a 4-3 home record this season.  Mercer has lost to two of the top teams in the SoCon (UNCG & Furman) but was very competitive in both games. Number six in our power ranking Mocs are 4-5 in games played away from home in Chattanooga and Mercer comes in at number eight in those rankings.  Massey projects the Mocs win streak will continue with a 69-67 victory over the Bears.

UNCG at Wofford
In what has been designated as the SoCon Game of the Week, the Spartans visit the Richardson Indoor Stadium. Ranked #7 on the Mid-Major Top 25, the Spartans bring their 4 game win streak to Spartanburg to face the Terriers, who own a 5-1 record on their home floor. The Terriers are coming off a 1 point loss to ETSU in Johnson City. The Spartans are ranked number five on our power ranking, while the Terriers come in at number five. Massey gives the home-court advantage a little extra for this game as Massey projects the Terriers will be a 67-85 winner over the visiting Spartans.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Road to Asheville (1-2-20)

Wednesday's SoCon Basketball results (1-1-20)

Furman at VMI
Furman's Jordan Lyons scored a season-high 40 points leading Furman over VMI 89-73 on Wednesday for their fifth straight victory. Sophomore Jalen Slawson had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Furman as Clay Mounce added 13 points, and Noah Gurley had 10 points for the Paladins. Furman shot 57% from the field and connected on 54% (13-24) from 3-point range. Sean Conway had 15 points and five steals for the Keydets in the loss. This was the Paladin's second conference win, as well as the second loss for the Keydets.

The Citadel at Samford
In what became one of two nail biters today, Samford's Josh Sharkey matched his career-high of 27 points as the Bulldogs squeaked by the Citadel, 69-68. Samford's 17-3 run over the final eight minutes, including Logan Padgett's free throw with three seconds left, put the home team over the line for the victory. Citadel led by as many as 16 in the game. The loss for the Citadel was their second conference loss.

Wofford at ETSU
In a much closer game than expected, Wofford almost pulled off an upset of ETSU in Johnson City. The Buc's Patrick Good scored 12 points as ETSU pulled past the Wofford Terriers 49-48 for their fifth straight victory. Both teams set season lows for scoring in the first half of play. The Bucs' 21 first-half points were the lowest of the season, while the 18 points for the Terriers marked their fewest of the season. Tray Boyd III, the Buccaneers' leading scorer entering the matchup, was held to just five points, as Storm Murphy, the Terriers' leading scorer entering the contest had only six points. The Bucs are now 2-0, while Wofford drops to 0-1.

Mercer at UNCG
The Spartans' Isaiah Miller posted a career-high 31 points as UNCG topped the Mercer Bears 72-63 on Wednesday night. James Dickey had 12 rebounds for the Spartans as UNCG earned their fourth consecutive victory. Mercer had three turnovers in the final three minutes, finishing with a grand total of 24 turnovers that UNCG turned into 39 points. Ethan Stair had 18 points and six rebounds for the Bears, as Mercer dropped its second SoCon game.

Conference Standings
ETSU       2-0
Furman    2-0
UNCG      2-0
WCU        1-0
Samford   1-0
UTC          0-1
Wofford     0-1
VMI           0-1
Citadel      0-2
Mercer      0-2


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

SoCon Rankings (12-31-19)

Listed below are various SoCon Men's Basketball Rankings (RPI, NET, Kenpom, Massey, etc.) as of Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

RPI - RealTime RPI  as of 12-31-19
44 - ETSU
76 - Western Carolina
92 - Furman
122 - Chattanooga
148 - Wofford
166 - UNCG
219 - Citadel
296 - Samford
323 - Mercer
350 - VMI

Conference RPI as of 12-31-19
15 - Southern
16 - Colonial Athletic
17 - Conference USA
18 - Sun Belt
19 - Big West
20 - Summit
21 - Horizon League
22 - Patriot League
23 - America East
24 - Northeast
25 - Big South
26 - Western Athletic
27 - Metro Atlantic Athletic
28 - Atlantic Sun
29 - Ohio Valley
30 - Southwestern Athletic
31 - Southland
32 - Mid-Eastern

NCAA NET Rankings as of 12-30-19
61 - ETSU
66 - UNCG
94 - Furman
98 - Western Carolina
162 - Wofford
186 - Chattanooga
276 - Samford
279 - Mercer
280 - The Citadel
323 - VMI

Current KenPom Rankings, as of 12-31-19
66 - ETSU
74 - Furman
75 - UNCG
137 - Wofford
159 - Western Carolina
207 - Samford
264 - Mercer
289 - VMI
327 - The Citadel

Current Massey Rankings, as of 12-31-19
60 - ETSU
71 - UNCG
83 - Furman
106 - Wofford
144 - Western Carolina
176 - Chattanooga
250 - Samford
280 - Mercer
284 - The Citadel
315 - VMI

Current Sagarin Rankings, as of 12-30-19
51 - ETSU
59 - UNCG
86 - Furman
129 - Wofford
152 - Western Carolina
168 - Chattanooga
235 - Samford
282 - The Citadel
281 - Mercer
309 - VMI


The Road to Asheville (1-1-20)

Week nine brings us into serious conference play. On January 1st, eight SoCon teams are in action, here's a look at the four games.

Furman at VMI, 1 p.m.
Citadel at Samford, 3 p.m.
Wofford at ETSU, 7 p.m.
Mercer at UNCG, 7 p.m.

Probably the top game for the day will be the #5 Wofford Terriers at the co-#1 ETSU Bucs game, the Terriers come in at number five in our power ranking while the Bucs hold down the number one spot. With a 12-2 record, the Bucs come into the game ranked #5 in the mid-major top 25 poll, while the Terriers are in the "others receiving votes". Wofford has probably the best win of the season thus far for the conference, a 68-64 victory over then #17 UNC. While the Terriers can never be counted out, Massey projects a 76-69 ETSU win in Johnson City.

Gameday kicks off AT 1 pm with the co-#1 Furman Paladins at the #10 VMI Keydets. The Paladins are number 3 in our power ranking this week and are coming in at #9 on the mid-major top 25 rankings.  The Keydets hold down the number 10 spot in the power ranking. Just looking at the rankings on paper, this game should be a no-contest. However, VMI comes in second place in the SoCon in three-pointer shots, hitting 38% of their attempts, so if the Keydets have a hot shooting afternoon at home, it can be a game-changer. VMI comes into the game sporting a two-game losing streak, while the Paladins bring in a 4 game win streak. Massey projects a 79-66 win for the Paladins the road, and if they defend the three, I agree, and with the students on break, VMI is a much less intimidating place to play.

The day's afternoon games tips off at 3 pm and will feature the #7 Citadel Bulldogs at the #8 Samford Bulldogs. The Citadel ranks number nine in our power poll, while Samford comes in at number seven. This game will open the conference season for the Samford Bulldogs, while The Citadel has one conference loss, ETSU. Currently, the Citadel leads the conference in scoring offense, putting up 85 points per game (ppg), but also leads the conference in the most points given up, at 79 ppg. The Citadel is averaging 11 3-pointers per game, so like VMI, they are very dangerous when the threes are falling for them. The Citadel is coming off a road loss to NC State, while Samford is currently in a 3 game slide. Massey projects a 90-82 win for Samford at home.

In the second night game, the #9 Mercer Bears visits the co-#1 UNCG Spartans, and the Spartans are ranked #7 on this week's mid-major top 25 rankings. The Bears ranked number eight in our power ranking, while the Spartans come in at number two. Mercer brings in a 6-8 record to the game, and a conference loss to Furman, while the Spartans are 11-3 overall, and 1-0 in the SoCon with a win over VMI. The Spartans are 8-1 out of their last nine games, coming in on a 3 game win streak. Massey projects a 75-56 victory for the Spartans in Greensboro, where they have lost only once this season to NC State.

Who are the individual leaders in the SoCon up to this point in the season?  In scoring, WCU's Mason Faulkner leads the pack with 18.6 points per game (ppg), with Samford's Josh Sharkey a point behind, at 17.5 ppg.  For rebounding, it's Mercer's Ethan Stair with 9.6 rebounds per game followed by Western's Carlos Dotson at 8.8 per game. In assists, it's Samford's Josh Sharkey with 9.5 per game, followed by Western's Mason Faulkner and the Citadel's Tyson Batiste at 6.3 assists per game. Free throws are led by Wofford's Nathan Hoover, hitting 94.6% per game (35 of 37), followed by Mercer's Ethan Stair with 88.4% 38 if 43).

Current Power Rankings
3. Furman
4. Western Carolina
5. Wofford
6. Chattanooga
7. Samford
8. Mercer
9. The Citadel
10. VMI

Current Massey Rankings, as of 12-31-19
60 - ETSU
71 - UNCG
83 - Furman
106 - Wofford
144 - Western Carolina
176 - Chattanooga
250 - Samford
280 - Mercer
284 - The Citadel
327 - VMI