Catamounts defeat Bulldogs, start season 2-0

On Monday, November 11, Western Carolina University took on the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Fans packed into the Ramsey Center on Veterans Day to cheer on the Catamounts against the Bulldogs.

With the win, the Catamounts have built a 2-game winning streak before their 6-game road trip.

Many UNCA Bulldog fans made the 45-minute drive to pack the visitor section of the Ramsey Center.

The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band filled up three sections of the Ramsey Center and helped provide a loud environment.

Senior guard Trey Sumler was inactive for the second straight game. WCU athletics confirmed in a statement that Sumler was suspended due to an allegation. 

The first half provided exciting but sloppy basketball. There was no short of effort plays where players had to dive for loose balls and steals. 

Senior guard Brandon Boggs provided two plays that energized the crowd.  With 5:17 left in the half, Boggs stole the ball at half court and provided an electric 360-degree dunk for the crowd.  He later converted a lay-up while drawing a foul to make an “old school” three-point play to put the Catamounts up by 11. The Catamounts would keep that lead to finish the half up with a score of 38-27.

Senior center Tawaski King led the game at the half with 12 points.

The second half opened with a strong UNC-A run led by guards Andrew Rowsey, Corey Littlejohn and D.J. Cunningham. The Bulldogs cut the 11-point halftime lead to six, but WCU responded with junior guard James Sinclair hitting two critical three -point shots.

The Catamounts tried to extend their lead throughout the game, but the Bulldogs kept the deficit within 10 points.

The final minute of the game came down to UNC-A fouling the Catamounts to set up a six-point deficit with 15 seconds left.

With WCU up 70-64, sophomore guard Rhett Harrelson sank two free throws to extend the lead to 9. Harrelson went to the line again to put the game away and secure the victory with a final score of 74-67.

UNCA’s Rowsey led the game with 24 points.

Tom Tankelewicz, King and Sinclair were all scored in double figures with Sinclair leading the way with 17 points.

The Catamounts dominated the game, outscoring the Bulldogs with points in the paint, points off turnovers, fast breaks, second chance points and points off the bench. In particular the bench came up huge for the Catamounts as the reserves scored 20 points in comparison to UNC-A’s seven points off the bench.

Sinclair filled in the role of starting point guard with 17 points, five assists and five steals in Sumler’s absence.

The Catamounts go into their road trip undefeated at 2-0. The bulldogs fall to 0-2 on their season.