DAVIDSON, NC – Western Carolina is arguably one of the best 35 minute teams in the Southern Conference. On numerous occasions during the 2000-2001 campaign, the Cats have held leads late into contests only to succumb in the end.
WCU fell to 0-7 in the 2000 season in games decided by six points or less Monday night despite leading with five minutes to play, falling 69-63 to the Davidson Wildcats in the Belk Arena.
The Cats fell to northern division power UNC Greensboro, 95-81, Saturday night in Flemming Gym on the campus of UNCG.
Western Carolina (4-22, 2-11) held a four-point advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the game but went cold from the field with Davidson (11-15, 5-8) rattling off 14-straight points in the loss.
Junior Cory Largent paced the Cat offensive attack, finishing with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including three trifectas. He also had five rebounds along with a steal and an assist in 39 minutes.
Sophomore Kori Hatcher scored 15 points and dished out five assists in the losing effort, with junior forward Willie Freeman scoring 12 points, dishing out a career-high four assists and swiping a pair of steals.
Catamount guard Casey Rogers continues to make his way up in several WCU career-record books. His pair of steals against the Wildcats moved him into eighth all-time with 135. With the four steals Monday night, Rogers is three shy of sixth place in the records.
Western Carolina led by one, 29-28, at the half despite being outshot 39 to 36 percent from the field.
After the break, the Catamounts took control of the see-saw battle, taking advantages of six on several separate occasions. Davidson, which put four players in double-figures, trailed by four with 5:16 left in regulation.
The Wildcats scored 14-straight points as WCU cooled from the floor down the stretch in the loss.
Saturday the Catamounts fell behind early to northern division-leading UNC Greensboro. The Cats made a run but couldn’t overcome the deficit, falling 95-81. Spartan guard Courtney Eldridge scored 28 points, including six three-pointers, in the win.
The loss was WCU’s fifteenth straight on the road this year.
The Cats put their starting five into double-digits, led by Rogers with 19. He also dished out four assists.
Largent scored 17 and equaled Rogers’ assist total with four while pulling down four boards. Canadian freshman Rans Brempong scored 14 points, swiped three steals and blocked five shots in the loss.
Brempong currently ranks in the top 15 in the nation in blocked shots, in addition to leading the Southern Conference in that category. He is also six swats away from the WCU career record.
Hatcher and Freeman also reached the double-digit plateau, scoring 13 and 12, respectively. “Hatch” also handed out a trio of assists and made a pair of steals.
Greensboro broke the close ball game open in the first half with an 11-2 run over a three-minute span late to take a 44-27 lead into the break.
Through the second stanza, the Spartans went up by 20 on four separate occasions. However, the Cats never rolled over, using a 12-2 run to cut the Greensboro advantage to five at 84-79.
Yet the Spartans commanded the charity stripe, proving why they are ranked second in the nation in free throw percentage, holding WCU off from the line down the stretch.
The Catamounts return to the Ramsey Center for their final three regular season contests. They play the second half of two Catamount basketball double-headers this Saturday and Monday.
Two South Division teams make their only appearance against WCU in the season as Chattanooga comes to Cullowhee Saturday, with the Terriers of Wofford College offering the opposition Monday night.
Both games are slated to tip at 7:00pm.