Saturday, January 12, 2013

Catamounts squeak by Spartans, now 4-0 in SoCon

Trey Sumler shoots inside (Photo by WCU/Mark Haskett)
Rather than a great offensive battle many expected, both UNCG and Western Carolina showcased their defenses in the Catamount's 62-59 victory today in Cullowhee.

Aggressive man-to-man defense took the #1 and #4 scoring offenses in the Southern Conference off their game, and resulted in a low scoring affair for both teams.

Even though Trevis Simpson did not play due to a concussion issue, Derrell Armstrong more than made up for the lack of Simpson's normal scoring prowess. Armstrong led all players with 25 points, while Trey Sumler lead the Catamounts with 17 points.

The Cats held the SoCon's top scoring team at 74.5 points per game, to only 59 points, while UNCG held Western to 62 points, off  a total of 8 points from their average of 70.3 points per game.

UNCG hit a meager 35.7% of their field goals, while the Cats were held to an even lower 31.9%.  The Spartan defense effectively shut down the Cats three point game, holding the Cats to only one three-pointer of 13 attempts, for 7.7 percent, and held Tom Tankelewicz to just 3 points, making only  1 of 6 attempts.

While the Catamounts have aggressively run a man-to-man defense all season, the Spartans' defensive effort came at a high price for them at the free throw line. The Spartans committed 28 personal fouls, sending Western to the free throw line for 38 free throw attempts. The Cats hit 31 of those 38 attempts, for 81.6% at the charity stripe. The Spartans put up 13 of their 22 free throws, off 17 personal fouls by the Catamounts, giving the Cats a 18 point edge. Usually, that stat is reversed for the Cats.

The Catamounts were able to score 19 points off turnovers to the Spartan's 12, while UNCG scored 12 second chance points, the Cats only put up 7.

There was a total of 2 technical fouls called, the first being a double technical (one against both teams for excessive pushing, assessed to Ross & Williams), the third and final came against UNCG head coach Wes Miller, for screaming at the officials.  Hey, not only were these SoCon officials, but they were Saturday SoCon officials, what did he expect?

The Cats took a 1 point lead into the locker room at the half,  there was 10 lead changes in the game and the score was tied 8 times.

Western Carolina now leads the all-time series with UNCG, 25-16, having won ten of the last 11 meetings dating back to 2009. The Cats now lead the all-time series of games played in Cullowhee, 16-4, including having won five-straight home games over UNCG.

Western's 38 free throw attempts are a season high, and the most by a Catamount team since shooting 41 in a road win over Louisville (12/12/09).


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