Friday, February 12, 2016

The Road to Asheville (Feb. 13, 2016)



Only four games are on tap for Saturday, with VMI and UNCG not playing.

Chattanooga (22-4, 11-2 SoCon)  at  ETSU (16-9, 9-3 SoCon)  4 pm  ESPN2
The big game of the day has number one Chattanooga traveling to Johnson City to meed number 2 ETSU in the Freedom Center. The Mocs have two conference losses (Furman and WCU), while the Bucs have three (Furman, Wofford, & Chattanooga).  The Bucs are 10-1 in the Freedom Center this year, while the Mocs are 8-4 on the road and are coming off a major upset by the Catamounts that broke a 9 game winning streak. The Bucs are riding a three game winning streak, and looking to avenge a 10 point loss to the Mocs in Chattanooga. Look for the Bucs to continue the pain the Mocs are feeling with a 5 point win over Chattanooga.

Mercer (18-8, 8-5 SoCon)  at  Furman (16-11, 10-4 SoCon)  4 pm   ESPN3
Another interesting game has the Bears traveling to Greenville, SC to meet the Paladins in the Timmons Arena. Mercer is coming off back to back losses (Mocs & Terriers) and are only 4-7 in road games this season, while the Paladins are coming off two straight wins, and have won seven of their last eight games. Furman is red hot on their home floor with a 12-1 record in Timmons. This will be a diffulct game for the Bears, as they didn't play well on the road when they were at full staffing, look for the Paladins to win by 10 points.

Samford (12-15, 3-11 SoCon)  at Western Carolina (10-15, 5-7 SoCon)   4:30 pm    SDN and WMYA/My-40
The Bulldogs make the trip up the mountains to meet the Catamounts in the Ramsey Center looking to repeat their middle January victory over the Cats in Birmingham. Samford is 5-8 in road games this season, and is coming off a road loss to ETSU. The dogs have dropped 7 of their last 8 games. The Cats are coming off their biggest win of the season, upsetting Chattanooga last Thursday in Cullowhee, putting together a two game conference winning streak. Western has performed well in Cullowhee this season and has put together a 9-2 record in the Ramsey Center.  Look for the Cats to put together a 10 point win over the Bulldogs.

The Citadel (10-16, 3-10 SoCon)  at  Wofford (13-13, 9-4 SoCon)     7 pm  ESPN3
The low country Bulldogs travel to the upstate to meet Terriers in the Benjamin Johnson Arena hoping for revenge for their 3 point loss to Wofford in Charleston. The Citadel brings a 3-10 road record to Spartanburg, and are riding a four game skid. The Terrier are on a four game winning streak and sport a 9-2 record this season in the BenJo.  Look for a big win by Wofford, by at least 14 points.


That's how we see them, what do you think?



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If conference play ended today - Feb. 12, 2016


This is how the first two days of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament would look if regular season play ended 2-12-2016



- Friday, March 4  (2 games)

          Session #1  (the play-in round)

Game #1  Friday, March 4 @ 5 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #8 - The Citadel (3-10)  vs.  Seed #9 - Samford (3-11)

Game #2  Friday, March 4 @ 7:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #7 - UNCG (5-8)  vs.  Seed #10 - VMI (2-11)



- Saturday, March 5  (4 games)

           Session #2  (Quarter finals)

Game #3  Saturday, March 5 @ 12 noon (ESPN3)
Winner of game #1  vs.  Seed #1 Chattanooga (11-2)

Game #4  Saturday, March 5 @ 2:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed # 4 - Wofford (8-4)  vs.  Seed #5 - Mercer (8-5)

              Session #3  (Quarter finals)

Game #5  Saturday, March 5 @ 6 pm (ESPN3)

Winner of game #2  vs.  Seed #2 - ETSU (9-3)

Game #6  Saturday, March 5 @ 8:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #3 - Furman (10-4)  vs.  Seed #6  - Western Carolina (5-7)


Current Standings
Basketball (M)ConferenceOverall
Chattanooga11 - 222 - 4
ETSU9 - 316 - 9
Furman10 - 416 - 11
Wofford9 - 413 - 13
Mercer8 - 518 - 8
Western Carolina5 - 710 - 15
UNCG5 - 89 - 17
The Citadel3 - 1010 - 16
Samford3 - 1112 - 15
VMI2 - 117 - 17


Tie-Breaker Rules


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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chattanooga Game Recap (67-61)


Courtesy CatamountSports.com                                     



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WCU Player of the Game (Chattanooga)


Torrion Brummitt


Purple & Gold's "Player of the Game" for Thursday's Chattanooga basketball game is senior forward Torrion Brummitt.




Brummitt's double-double (points-rebounds) led the Cats to a 67-61 upset victory over league leading Chattanooga Mocs, which snapped an eight game win streak for Chattanooa.

Torrion scored 16 points, on 8 of 11 field goal attempts, making 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. He pulled down 10 rebounds (1 offensive, 9 defensive) and made 2 assists, 3 steals, and had 1 blocked shot.



Purple & Gold congratulates Torrion on his selection of Players of the Game.



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Attention Catamount Alumni !!!!!!

Baseball - Cats picked 4th by coaches & media



The Cats were picked by both the coaches poll and the media poll to finish the season in 4th place this year. Catcher Danny Bermudez, and outfielder Matt Smith were both selected as first team preseason all conference.

2016 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll
Place Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Samford (4) 60
2. Mercer (4) 59
3. Wofford (1) 50
4. Western Carolina 37
5. UNCG 35
6. Furman 24
T7. The Citadel 21
T7. ETSU 21
9. VMI 17

2016 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll
Place Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Mercer (7) 119
2. Samford (7) 117
3. Wofford 91
4. Western Carolina 76
5. UNCG 62
6. Furman 50
7. VMI 43
8. The Citadel 39
9. ETSU 33


Courtesy CatamountSports.com



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Steve White explains why your vote matters

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Road to Asheville (Feb. 11, 2016)


On Thursday night, we have a full slate of conference games. as all 10 teams play.



The Citadel (10-15, 3-9 SoCon)  at  Furman (15-11, 9-4 SoCon)   7 pm   ESPN3
The Bulldogs travel to Greenville, SC to meet the Paladins in Timmons Arena. The Bulldogs are coming off a three game skid, and are 3-9 in games played on the road, while the Paladins have won six of their last seven games, and are 11-1 on the court of Timmons this season.  While the Bulldogs picked up a 3 point win over the Paladins back in mid-January, don't expect a repeat, as Furman pulls down a 17 point win at home.

Samford (12-14, 3-10 SoCon)  at  ETSU (15-9, 8-3 SoCon)  7 pm  ESPN3
The other Bulldogs travel to Johnson City to visit the Bucs in Freedom Hall.  The Bulldogs are 5-8 in road games, are coming off a win at the Citadel which snapped a five game losing streak. The Bucs are 9-1 in protecting the home court and are on a two game win streak. The Bucs picked up a four point win in Birmingham, and will win by 14 on their home floor.

Mercer (18-7, 8-4 SoCon)  at  Wofford (12-13, 8-4 SoCon)    7 pm   ESPN3
The Bears travel to Spartanburg on Thursday to meet the Terriers in the Benjamin Johnson Arena. The Bears are only 4-6 in road games, and are coming off a disappointing overtime home loss to Chattanooga, which broke a four game winning streak for Mercer. The Terriers are 8-2 in the BenJo, and have won four of their last five games. It the first game between these two, Mercer pulled off a 1 point victory in Macon, but in Spartanburg, the Bears fall by 7.

UNCG (9-16, 5-7 Southern)  at  VMI (6-17, 1-11 Southern)  7 pm   ESPN3
The Spartans travel to Lexington to meet the Keydets in Cameron Hall. This is a critical game for UNCG, as they have a one-half game lead over Western Carolina for sixth place, which carries the final by for the conference tournament.  The Spartans are only 1-12 on the road this season, and are coming off a two game losing streak, while the Keydets are 5-5 at home, and are on a six game skid. The Spartans won the first meeting in Greensboro, but lose by 2 points to the Keydets.

Chattanooga (22-3, 11-1 SoCon)  at  Western Carolina (9-15, 4-7 SoCon)   7:30 pm   ESPN3
The Mocs travel to Cullowhee to meet the Catamounts in the Ramsey Center. The first place Mocs are 8-3 on the road this season, and are coming off a 9 game win streak, while the Cats are 8-2 in the Ramsey Center and coming off their first road win of the season at VMI. The Mocs won the first game between the two teams in Chattanooga by 19 points, and pick up a 5 point win in Cullowhee.


That's how we see them, what do you think?



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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 SoCon Basketball Power Rankings (2-9-16)



Tuesday is the regular power rankings day, and since we've played one round of SoCon games, this seems to be a good place to start our 2016 SoCon Basketball Power Rankings




#1. Chattanooga
#2. Mercer
#3. ETSU
#4. Furman
#5. Wofford
#6. Western Carolina
#7. Samford
#8. UNCG
#9. The Citadel
#10. VMI



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If conference play ended today - Feb. 9, 2016


This is how the first two days of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament would look if regular season play ended 2-9-2016



- Friday, March 4  (2 games)

          Session #1  (the play-in round)

Game #1  Friday, March 4 @ 5 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #8 - The Citadel (3-9)  vs.  Seed #9 - Samford (3-10)

Game #2  Friday, March 4 @ 7:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #7 - Western Carolina (4-7)  vs.  Seed #10 - VMI (1-11)




- Saturday, March 5  (4 games)

           Session #2  (Quarter finals)

Game #3  Saturday, March 5 @ 12 noon (ESPN3)
Winner of game #1  vs.  Seed #1 Chattanooga (11-1)

Game #4  Saturday, March 5 @ 2:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed # 4 - Mercer (8-4)  vs.  Seed #5 - Wofford (8-4)

              Session #3  (Quarter finals)

Game #5  Saturday, March 5 @ 6 pm (ESPN3)

Winner of game #2  vs.  Seed #2 - ETSU (8-3)

Game #6  Saturday, March 5 @ 8:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #3 - Furman (9-4)  vs.  Seed #6  - UNCG (5-7)






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Monday's SoCon Basketball results



February 8, 2016


Chattanooga at Mercer
The Moc's Eric Robertson scored 20 points as Chattanooga won its ninth straight game by a final score of 72-66 over Mercer in overtime Monday night. Rivers, a sophomore, scored a career-best 20 points for Mercer, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Demetre Rivers scored a career-best 20 points for Mercer.

Samford at The Citadel
Wyatt Walker scored 22 points as Samford ended a six-game losing streak by beating The Citadel 95-86 Monday night. Derrick Henry led The Citadel (10-15, 3-9) with 22 points. The Citadel made 13 3-pointers.

UNCG at Furman
The Paladin's Stephen Croone scored 17 points to lead Furman to a 79-72 win over UNCG on Monday night. Furman has now won six of their last seven games. The Paladins shot 53% from the field and had 15 total assists. Kayel Locke scored 19 to lead UNCG.

VMI at Wofford
The Terrier's Fletcher Magee scored a career-best 34 points to lead Wofford to a 92-60 win over VMI on Monday night. Wofford hit 17 of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc. The Terriers have won four of its last five games and six straight against VMI. Phillip Anglade and Jordan Weethee each scored 13 for the Keydets

Current Standings
Basketball (M)ConferenceOverall
Chattanooga11 - 122 - 3
ETSU8 - 315 - 9
Furman9 - 415 - 11
Mercer8 - 418 - 7
Wofford8 - 412 - 13
UNCG5 - 79 - 16
Western Carolina4 - 79 - 15
The Citadel3 - 910 - 15
Samford3 - 1012 - 14
VMI1 - 116 - 17



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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Road to Asheville (Feb. 8, 2016)



This week we have four games in the Monday night version of Southern Conference basketball. Only the Catamounts and Bucs have the night off.



Samford (11-14, 2-10 SoCon)  at  The Citadel (10-14, 3-8 SoCon)   6 pm  ESPN3
In the battle fo the Bulldogs, the Birmingham dogs travel to Charleston on Monday evening sporting a six game losing streak, while the low country dogs are on their own two game losing streak. The Citadel is 5-5 on their home court in McAlister Field House. while Samford is 4-8 in road games. Samford won the first meeting at home between these teams by 20 points. but look for The Citadel to pick up the split by 2 points.

Chattanooga (21-3, 10-1 SoCon)  at   Mercer (18-6, 8-3 SoCon)    7 pm   ESPN3
The first place Mocs travel to Macon and the Hawkins Arena on Monday to face the Bears, which are tied with ETSU for second place in the conference standings with ETSU.  Chattanooga enters the game on a 8 game win streak, and are 7-3 on the road this season, while the Bears are 11-0 on the home court and have won their last four games. The Bears dropped a 12 point game to the Mocs in Chattanooga in early January, but we see the Bears getting a bit of revenge in a 5 point of victory over the Mocs.

UNCG (9-15, 5-6 SoCon)   at  Furman (14-11, 8-4 SoCon)   7 pm    ASN
The Spartans travel to Greenville, SC on Monday to play the Paladins in Timmons Arena as #6 in the standings battles #4. UNCG comes into the game off a close loss at home to ETSU, and are 3-2 in their last five games but are 1-11 in road games, while the Paladins are 10-1 on the home court, and 6-0 in conference games played in Timmons.  The Paladins continue their home win streak, and pick up a 15 point win over the Spartans.

VMI (6-16, 1-10 SoCon)  at    Wofford (11-13, 7-4 SoCon)   7 pm   SDN
The last place Keydets travel to Spartanburg to meet the 5th place Terriers in the Benjamin Johnson
Arena on Monday night.  VMI is 1-11 in road games this season and has lost their last five conference games, while the Terriers are 7-2 in the BenJo and have won three of their last four games. In Lexington, the Terriers picked up a 4 point victory, but at home Wofford wins by 13.



That's how we see them, what do you think?



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If conference play ended today - Feb. 7, 2016


This is how the first two days of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament would look if regular season play ended 2-7-2016



- Friday, March 4  (2 games)

          Session #1  (the play-in round)

Game #1  Friday, March 4 @ 5 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #8 - The Citadel (3-8)  vs.  Seed #9 - Samford (2-10)

Game #2  Friday, March 4 @ 7:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #7 - Western Carolina (4-7)  vs.  Seed #10 - VMI (1-10)




- Saturday, March 5  (4 games)

           Session #2  (Quarter finals)

Game #3  Saturday, March 5 @ 12 noon (ESPN3)
Winner of game #1  vs.  Seed #1 Chattanooga (10-1)

Game #4  Saturday, March 5 @ 2:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed # 4 - Furman (8-4)  vs.  Seed #5 - Wofford (7-4)

              Session #3  (Quarter finals)

Game #5  Saturday, March 5 @ 6 pm (ESPN3)

Winner of game #2  vs.  Seed #2 - Mercer (8-3)

Game #6  Saturday, March 5 @ 8:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #3 - ETSU (8-3)  vs.  Seed #6  - UNCG (5-6)






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Saturday's SoCon Basketball results



Saturday, February 6, 2016


Western Carolina at VMI
The Catamount's Mike Brown scored 17 points to led Western Carolina over VMI 69-60 for their first road victory of the season. The Cats had five players reaching double-figure scoring and three earning double-doubles with points and rebounds. Joining Brown with double-doubles were Torrion Brummit with 15 points and 11 boards, and Justin Browning with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Peterson added 11 points and Haboubacar Mutombo 10. Julian Eleby led VMI  with 20 points. QJ Peterson added 14, all in the final 13 minutes of the game.
Attendance:  2,379

Wofford at Samford
The Terriers' Spencer Collins scored 18 points to led Wofford to a 78-75 win over Samford on Saturday. With about 14 seconds to play, Eric Garcia hit 3 of his 4 free throw attempts to push Wofford's lead to 78-73 and seal the win for the Terriers. Darius Jones-Gibson scored 21 to lead Samford in the loss.
Attendance:  1,047

The Citadel at Mercer
In the first game Mercer played since the passing of Jibri Bryan, a sixth-year senior, The Bears' Andrew Fishler scored a career-high 20 points to lead Mercer over The Citadel 88-72 on Saturday. Bryan was shot and killed in Macon, Georgia, while sitting in a car in the parking lot of a gas station. The Bears were never seriously challanged in the game. Quinton Marshall led The Citadel with 18 points.
Attendance: 4,772

ETSU at UNCG
The Bucs' Deuce Bello scored 16 points as the Bucs rallied to beat UNCG in the final minute for a 68-65 win Saturday. RTSU went back on top with Ge'Lawn Guyn's 3-point play that made the score 66-65, with 40 seconds remaining. Bello added to the lead with a dunk with 13 seconds, and Greensboro's Kayel Locke missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Francis Alonso led the Spartans with 16 points.
Attendance: 1,902

Furman at Chattanooga
In the game that featured the #1 and #2 teams in leakage play, the Mocs won their eight-straight game, and remained perfect on their home court, with a 62-54 victory over second-place Furman Saturday. The Loss snapped Furman's five game winning streak. Daniel Fowler's 3-pointer cut Chattanooga;s lead to three points, at 55-52 with about a minute left in the game. However, Greg Pryor & Dee Oldham each hit 2 free throws to put the game away. Stephen Croone scored 18 points to lead Furman in the loss.
Attendance: 4,894

Current Standings
Basketball (M)ConferenceOverall
Chattanooga10 - 121 - 3
Mercer8 - 318 - 6
ETSU8 - 315 - 9
Furman8 - 414 - 11
Wofford7 - 411 - 13
UNCG5 - 69 - 15
Western Carolina4 - 79 - 15
The Citadel3 - 810 - 14
Samford2 - 1011 - 14
VMI1 - 106 - 16



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Saturday, February 6, 2016

WCU Player(s) of the Game (VMI)




In a first for our play of the game selections, we have a tie. Not just a two way tie, but a three-way tie.


Mike Brown

Purple & Gold's  "Player(s) of the Game" for Saturday's VMI basketball game are senior Mike Brown, senior Torrion Brummitt, and senior Justin Browning.





Torrion Brummitt


All three of our selections completed the double-double with points and rebounds. Mike Brown scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Torrion Brummit hit 15 points and pulled down 11 boards, and Justin Browning made 12 points and pulled 12 rebounds. As a result of their efforts, the Catamounts won their first road game of the season.






Justin Browning


Purple & Gold  congratulates Mike, Torrion, and Justin on their selection of Players of the Game.








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Catamounts take 3 of 4 in Track & Field awards

The Southern Conference announced its January athletes of the month for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field. Catamounts were selected in 3 of 4 of the honors.  

WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Track
Tayla Carter, Western Carolina, Sr.
Western Carolina senior Tayla Carter assembled an impressive month for the Catamounts, recording five first-place finishes across three different meets. The Marietta, Ga., native was a member of WCU’s 4x400 relay team that clocked a SoCon-best 3:52.03 mark at the ETSU Track and Field Invitational. Carter also boasts SoCon-leading marks in the 60-meter and 200-meter dash, registering times of 7.43 seconds and 24.50 seconds, respectively, at the Thundering Herd Invitational. Both performances earned her first-place finishes. Carter’s 60-meter time broke a meet and track record and tied her own school record that she set back in 2013. Her 24.70-second performance in the 200 meter set a meet record. Carter garnered SoCon women’s track athlete of the week on Jan. 20.
Field
Hailey Cook, Western Carolina, Jr.
Western Carolina junior Hailey Cook notched SoCon-best marks in the shot put and weight throw in January en route to women’s field athlete of the month. At the ETSU Invitational, held Jan. 15-16, Cook tossed her way to first-place finishes in the shot put and weight throw, and her shot put toss of 14.93 meters at the meet still stands as a league best. The Hendersonville, N.C., product closed out the month on a high note at the Thundering Herd Invitational by recording a conference-best 17.16m toss in the weight throw. Cook grabbed SoCon women’s field athlete of the week distinction on Jan. 20.

MEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Field
Jamie Brown, Western Carolina, Fr.
Freshman Jamie Brown was a solid performer for the Catamounts in January. At the David E. Walker Classic on Jan. 9, Brown recorded two SoCon-leading marks, tying for first in the high jump with a leap of 2.05 meters and registering a second-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 7.67 meters. The Knightdale, N.C., product added a third-place finish in the triple jump at the ETSU Invitational a week later, stopping the tape at 14.60 meters. He also came in fourth in the high jump with a 2.00m leap at the Thundering Herd Invitational to close out the month. Brown earned SoCon field athlete of the week recognition on Jan. 20.

Courtesy SoConSports.com


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Friday, February 5, 2016

If conference play ended today - Feb. 5, 2016


This is how the first two days of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament would look if regular season play ended 2-4-2016



- Friday, March 4  (2 games)

          Session #1  (the play-in round)

Game #1  Friday, March 4 @ 5 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #8 - Western Carolina (3-7)  vs.  Seed #9 - Samford (2-8)

Game #2  Friday, March 4 @ 7:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #7 - The Citadel (3-7)  vs.  Seed #10 - VMI (1-9)




- Saturday, March 5  (4 games)

           Session #2  (Quarter finals)

Game #3  Saturday, March 5 @ 12 noon (ESPN3)
Winner of game #1  vs.  Seed #1 Chattanooga (9-1)

Game #4  Saturday, March 5 @ 2:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed # 4 - ETSU (7-3)  vs.  Seed #5 - Wofford (6-4)

              Session #3  (Quarter finals)

Game #5  Saturday, March 5 @ 6 pm (ESPN3)

Winner of game #2  vs.  Seed #2 - Furman (8-3)

Game #6  Saturday, March 5 @ 8:30 pm (ESPN3)
Seed #3 - Mercer (7-3)  vs.  Seed #6  - UNCG (5-5)





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Thursday's SoCon Basketball results



February 4, 2016


ETSU at VMI
The Bucs'  Ge'Lawn Guyn scored 20 points as ETSU defeated VMI 71-60 on Thursday night. The Keydets built an 11-point lead in the first half, but the Bucs ended the half on a 15-2 run. The Keydets tied the game at the start of the second half but the Bucs built a lead from there with a 10-0 run with 4 minutes left giving them a 15-point lead.  QJ Peterson and Julian Eleby each had four 3-pointers and 18 points for the Keydets.

Western Carolina at UNCG
The Spartan's Kayel Locke scored 17 points to lead UNCG past Western Carolina 75-58 on Thursday night, snapping an eight game win streak by the Catamounts. The Spartans raced out to a 21-6 lead and were never challenged by the Catamounts as the Spartans led 38-21 at halftime, and finished 26-for-57 shooting. Western Carolina's Mike Brown scored 20 points for the Cats.

Wofford at Chattanooga
The Moc's Tre' McLean scored 21 points to lead Chattanooga to a 79-63 victory on Thursday night for their seventh-straight win. Justin Gordon, Spencer Collins and Fletcher Magee scored 14 points apiece for Wofford in the loss.

Furman at Samford
The Paladin's Matt Rafferty scored a career-high 20 points to lead a Furman ralley to beat Samford 67-65 on Thursday night. Furman rallied to a 66-65 lead on Rafferty's 3-pointer and his free throw with seven seconds remaining. Matt Rose missed a potential game-tying layup at the buzzer. Marcus Johnson scored 16 for Samford, which has lost five straight.


Current Standings
Basketball (M)ConferenceOverall
Chattanooga9 - 120 - 3
Furman8 - 314 - 10
Mercer7 - 317 - 6
ETSU7 - 314 - 9
Wofford6 - 410 - 13
UNCG5 - 59 - 14
The Citadel3 - 710 - 13
Western Carolina3 - 78 - 15
Samford2 - 911 - 13
VMI1 - 96 - 15



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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Catamount's National Signing Day

“What a great day to be a Catamount,” Head Coach Mark Speir said. “Today is a very exciting day. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort, first and foremost by these 14 student-athletes we signed today to join our football family. This is a great group that will be invested in this program and helping us continue to build on the foundation laid by our previous players here in Cullowhee.”



Matthew Bair 
OL - 6-4 - 275 lbs. Anderson, S.C. (T.L. Hanna HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Named to the High School Sports Report (HSSR) South Carolina Division II AAAA All-State team as an offensive lineman following his senior year ... Also garnered all-region plaudits ... Graded out at 90 percent with 78 pancake blocks and scored a touchdown as a senior ... Was a two-time Offensive Lineman of the Week from the Anderson Area Touchdown Club ... Twice named T.L. Hanna's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman (2014, 2015) and received the Captain's Award in 2015 ... ... High school coach was Bruce Ollis.
Personal: Full name is Matthew David Bair ... Is the son of David and Sonya Bair.
Note: Chose Western Carolina over Presbyterian and South Carolina State ... Was recruited by John Holt and De'Rail Sims.


Aubry Payne 
TE - 6-4 - 235 lbs. Locust Grove, Ga. (Locust Grove HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Two-time first team all-region selection ... Received second team Class AAAA All-State honors from the Georgia Sports Writers Association, as well as first team All-Metro ... Had 30 receptions for 575 yards and five TDs as a senior ... Was a five-time player of the week selection including three as a senior ... As a junior, caught 15 passes for 209 yards with an average of 13.9 yards per reception with five touchdowns ... Also had 21 tackles with a sack as a defensive end ... Listed as a two-star athlete by both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com ... High school coach was Clint Satterfield.
Personal: Full name is Aubry William Payne ... Is the son of Scott Payne and Jennifer Prater ... Has four siblings; Ashtin Prater, Triston Payne, Robbie Prater and Mitchell Prater. Note: Chose Western Carolina over East Carolina, Cincinnati, Mercer, Presbyterian and Georgia Southern ... Was recruited by Mark Rhea.


Bailey Byrum
OL - 6-7 - 310 lbs. Sweetwater, Tenn. (Sweetwater HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Three-time all-county selection and a two-time all-district honoree ... As a senior, was named All-State by both the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TWSA) and The Examiner.com ... Selected as the Region 2-AA co-Offensive Lineman of the Year and was the Advocate Democrat lineman of the year ... Played for the East squad in the Toyota East-West All-Star Classic ... Graded out with 158 career pancake blocks over three seasons including a career-high 72 as a senior with 95 career knockdowns, 64 in his final season ... As a junior, was named a MVP at a National Playmakers Academy camp held at Tennessee State Univ. ... Listed as a three-star athlete by 247Sports.com and a two-star standout by Rivals.com ... He is considered the No. 124 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 26 overall player in the Tennessee Class of 2016 ... High school coach was Ethan Edmiston.
Personal: Is the son of Eddie and Laura Byrum ... His grandfather, David Michael "Big Dog" Vestal Sr., played football at the University of Tennessee where he was on the Vols 1956 Sugar Bowl team ... His uncle, David Vestal Jr., played football at ETSU. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Jacksonville State ... Was recruited by John Holt.


Lavell Ellerbe 
WR - 6-3 - 195 lbs. Rockingham, N.C. (Richmond Senior HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Finished his prep career with 1,485 receiving yards on 82 career receptions, averaging 18.1 yards per catch ... Recorded 18 career receiving touchdowns ... Set four school records as a senior: 202 receiving yards in a single-game, breaking his own record; total yardage in a single season (1,259 yds); 67 seasonal receptions; and 16 touchdown catches ... Earned All-Southeastern 4-A conference plaudits ... High school coach was Mike Castellano.
Personal: Full name is Lavell Skydrel Tyree Ellerbe ... Is the son of Jimmy and Wendy Ellerbe ... Has two brothers ... Is related to Dannell Ellerbe, a 2009 undrafted free agent who plays for the NFL's New Orleans Saints. Note: Chose Western Carolina over The Citadel, Old Dominion, North Carolina Central and Campbell ... Was recruited by Pat Mills.


Michael Murphy 
DB - 6-2 - 180 lbs. Spartanburg, S.C. (Spartanburg HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Was an All-Region II-4A selection and named second team All-Herald-Journal/GoUpstate All-Area team ... Recorded 43 tackles with four interceptions and three pass break ups as a senior ... Was part of the 2014 South Carolina state championship team as a junior in 2014, finishing with 88 tackles and three interceptions from his safety position ... Was cited as one of the top 10 defensive backs at an EPT Football Skills Showcase prior to this senior year ... Listed as a two-star prospect from Rivals.com ... High school coach was Chris Miller.
Personal: Full name is Michael Anthony Murphy Jr., and goes by "Mike" ... Is the son of Michael Sr. and Tamika Murphy ... Has one sibling, Malik. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Mercer and South Carolina State ... Was recruited by De'Rail Sims.


Donnavan Spencer
RB - 5-10 - 185 lbs. Charlotte, N.C. (Vance HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: In October of 2014, became the first Mecklenburg County prep football player to rush for more than 400 yards in a single game amassing 405 yards on 30 carries with four touchdowns ... As a junior, was the runner-up in the 4th Annual Charlotte Football Awards for the Running Back of the Year award and was a third-team offense All-Observer selection ... High school coach was Aaron Brand.
Personal: Is the son of Latasha Spencer. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Boston College, Furman, Toledo and Georgia Southern ... Was recruited by Dennis Thomas.


Shamon Elliott
DB - 6-0 - 185 lbs. Fayetteville, N.C. (Terry Sanford HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Recorded 119 tackles in 2015 - 10th in the Cape Fear region - as a senior ... Added four interceptions and scored a pair of touchdowns in his final season as a prep ... Was a first team All-Cape Fear Valley Conference selection as a senior ... Named second team defense on the 2015 Fayetteville Observer All-Cape Fear Region team ... Helped lead his high school team to back-to-back conference championships and into the third round of the state playoffs in his final two seasons ... High school coach was Bryan Till ... Also played basketball at Terry Sanford HS, helping guide his squad to a North Carolina 3-A boy's state championship in 2015 as a junior - the first for the program in 50 years.
Personal: Full name is Shamon Jerome Elliott ... Is the son of Calvin and Kathryn Elliott ... Has two younger siblings, Imani Elliott and Jah'mez Autry. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Army West Point and Navy ... Was recruited by Pat Mills.


Holden Edwards
DT - 6-2 - 295 lbs. Mount Ulla, N.C. (South Iredell HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Played on the varsity squad for all four years as a prep, beginning as a freshman with the eight-quarter rule ... Was a two-time All-North Piedmont Conference selection and was twice dubbed all-county ... Recorded 163 career tackles with 50 tackles for loss including a career-best 31 as a senior ... Had five career sacks ... Was a part of a two conference championships as a freshman and senior ... South Iredell HS won the state championship his freshman year ... High school coach was Scott Miller.
Personal: Full name is Holden Kross Edwards ... Is the son of Don Edwards and Kathy Barrow ... Grew up on a farm, working with his father and grandfather. Note: Was recruited by Dennis Thomas.


John Brannon III 
DB - 6-2 - 180 lbs. Charlotte, N.C. (South Mecklenburg HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Two-time All-SoMeck 8 Conference selection ... Garnered second team defense accolades on the All-Charlotte Observer team ... Was listed on the South Charlotte "20 to Treasure" list following his senior season which ended with him garnering the publication's Defensive Player of the Year honor ... Posted 56 tackles including six TFLs, a sack, eight interceptions and 13 pass break-ups as a senior ... On offense, caught 24 passes for 98 yards and three scores ... Set as a junior and then matched as a senior a school-record with eight INTs in a single-season ... Also tallied a career-best three interceptions in a single-game ... High school coach was Rocky White.
Personal: Full name is John William Brannon III ... Is the son of John Brannon Jr. and Dana L. Byers. Note: Chose Western Carolina over James Madison and Liberty ... Was recruited by Dennis Thomas and LaMar Morgan.


Devarius Cortner
DB - 6-1 - 185 lbs. Nashville, Tenn. (East Nashville Magnet HS) Prior to Western Carolina: Two-way player who played quarterback in addition to defensive back ... Finished his senior season with 1,251 passing yards and 11 touchdowns while rushing for 185 yards and two scores ... Recorded 40 tackles on defense with four interceptions and five pass breakups at free safety ... Received the prestigious Hume Award, an honor bestowed upon the best Metro Nashville football player based on scholarship, sportsmanship, individual performance and value to his team ... Listed as a two-star athlete by both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com ... High school coach was Brian Waite.
Personal: Full name is Devarius Quantez Cortner ... His mother is the late Sherika Cortner ... His guardian is Vanessa Cortner ... Has an older sister, Doncoria, and younger cousin, Nakia Hayes. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Navy, Tennessee Tech and Samford ... Was recruited by LaMar Morgan.


Jake Helms
DT - 6-2 - 290 lbs. Mooresville, N.C. (Lake Norman HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Finished with 164 career tackles including 27 tackles for loss and 16 sacks ... Forced five fumbles and blocked two field goals ... Named All-North Piedmont Conference as a senior, as well as garnering all-county honors ... Two-time defensive lineman of the year ... Played in the 2012 Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl as an eight-grade offensive lineman ... High school coach was Rob McNeely ... Also participated in track & field as a prep where he holds the school record in the discus.
Personal: Is the son of Kell and Susan Helms ... His father played football at Western Carolina from 1986-90 as a linebacker ... Has a younger sister, Reagan. Note: Chose Western Carolina over Elon ... Was recruited by Dennis Thomas.


Andrew Askew
WR - 6-1 - 190 lbs. LaGrange, Ga. (LaGrange HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Recorded 91 catches for 850 yards over his final two seasons as a prep including a career-best 65 receptions for 700 yards as a senior .... Seven of his nine career receiving TDs came in his final year ... Tallied the LaGrange HS position award for Best Wide Receiver as a senior ... High school coach was Dialleo Burks ... Also played baseball as a prep, collecting a .325 batting average as a switch hitter in his junior year with 21 stolen bases.
Personal: Full name is Andrew Michael Askew ... Is the son of Ceola Askew and Amy Mains ... Has a younger sister, Ashlee Mains. Note: Was recruited by Tyler Carlton.


Aaron Maddox
DB - 6-2 - 185 lbs. North Augusta, S.C. (North Augusta HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Was a first-team All-Aiken Standard selection at defensive back ... Recorded 71 tackles, four pass break-ups, a blocked punt and both forced and recovered a fumble as a senior ... Selected to play in the Border Bowl III ... As a junior, earned North Augusta Star Player of the Week after recovering a pair of fumbles and an interception in a win over Midland Valley ... Earned All-Area accolades as a junior ... High school coach was Brian Thomas.
Personal: Is the son of Richard and Cynthia Maddox ... His father played college football at the University of Arizona where he was a part of the "Desert Swarm Defense." Note: Was recruited by Brad Glenn.


Connell Young
RB - 6-0 - 200 lbs. Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley HS)
Prior to Western Carolina: Rushed for 2,431 yards as a senior on just 237 carries, averaging an astounding 10.3 yards per carry in helping lead Dudley HS to a 13-2 record and berth in the 4-A west regional final ... Scored 27 rushing touchdowns ... Made 40 receptions for 771 yards and seven TDs, averaging 19.3 yards per reception ... As a junior, rushed for 1,051 yards and 11 touchdowns ... Listed as a three-star athlete by 247sports.com ... High school coach was Steve Davis.
Personal: Full name is Connell Jamale Young Jr. ... Is the son of Connell Sr. and Likishen Young ... Has a younger sister, Nisha. Note: Chose Western Carolina over East Carolina, James Madison, and Syracuse ... Was recruited by De'Rail Sims.


Details and pictures courtesy CatamountSports.com



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