Junior Jake Robinson scored a game-high 20 points and freshman Greg Avery tied his career-best with 17 to lead four Catamounts in double figures as Western Carolina used a strong offensive performance to down the Georgia Southern Eagles, 89-75, in Southern Conference action on a snowy Monday night at the Ramsey Center.
The win, Western’s third-straight home victory over conference foes, snapped both a two-game seasonal slide, as well as a two-game drought against the Eagles. Western Carolina also maintained control of first place in the Southern Conference’s North Division.
Robinson shot a sizzling 6-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc to reach the 20-point plateau for the second-time this season. In addition to his career-high tying 17 points, Avery added seven rebounds off the bench for the Cats, while red-shirt freshman Harouna Mutombo and junior Brigham Waginger each scored 13 in the victory to round out double-figure scorers. Mutombo added seven boards and four assists.
Junior Kendall Russell just missed his first WCU career double-double, finishing with eight points and a career-high 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
All told, every Catamount that played on Monday night recorded points.
Trailing by two early, Western Carolina (9-7, 4-2 SoCon) used a 12-0 run to reclaim the lead for what proved to be for good, 16-6, at the 12 minute mark of the opening half. The two teams traded buckets over the next six minutes before a Robinson trey gave Western its largest lead of the half at 11, 31-20. The Catamounts took an eight-point edge into the break, 43-35.
WCU pushed its lead back into double digits for good when Robinson made two of three free throws, giving the Catamounts a 49-39 edge two minutes into the second half. Western used a 9-0 spurt, capped by a Waginger trey, to put the advantage to a game-high 20.
The Eagles continued to fight down the stretch, however, and were able to trim the deficit to 11 on two occasions with five minutes showing on the game clock on a Ben Drayton lay-up. However, each time, netting four free throws and a pair of field goals inside the final two and a half minutes to hold off GSU and secure the victory.
Georgia Southern (5-10, 3-4 SoCon) had three players post double-digit scoring nights led by 15 points by Drayton, including three from beyond the 3-point arc. Antoine Johnson chipped in 13 points, while leading-scorer Julian Allen finished with 13 points in the loss.
For the game, WCU outshot the Eagles, 56-to-48 percent, while also controlling the boards, 37-to-28.