Western Carolina's Trey Sumler notched a game-high 17 points and lead four players in double figures as the Catamounts grabbed their third Southern Conference win of the season, 72-55, over The Citadel at McAlister Field House on Saturday evening.
The Citadel was charged offensively by the sophomore scoring duo of P.J. Horgan and Marshall Harris III who scored 10 points apiece. Horgan, who missed the first 11 games of the year with the intent to redshirt, came off the bench to hit 4-of-5 from the field and grab a game-high eight rebounds. Harris hit two shots on the game, both from beyond the arc, and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Sumler was one of three Catamount starters in double figures, hitting 6-of-15 from the field, joined by Tom Tankelewicz (14 points) and Brandon Boggs (10 points). Teammate Preston Ross also eclipsed double-digits, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
Western Carolina (4-9, 3-0 SoCon) finished 27-of-57 (47.4%) from the floor and behind a 4-of-9 outing by Tankelewicz the Catamounts knocked down 6-of-15 (40.0%) from beyond the arc. Sumler converted all four free throw attempts to capped off a WCU unit that closed the game 12-of-16 (75%) from the charity stripe. Western Carolina held a 35-24 edge on the boards, crashing the glass for 18 offensive rebounds to edge the Dogs 17-6 in second chance points.
The Bulldogs managed to hit 21-of-48 (43.8%) from the floor, marking the first time that they have hit 20 or more shots in consecutive games since victories over Montreat and Union. The Citadel found their stride from the 3-point line, knocking down 6-of-19 (31.6%), while finishing 7-of-8 (87.5%) from the free throw line.
Trailing at the half Ashton Moore opened Citadel scoring with a 3-pointer in the opening minute to trim the margin to 36-28. Just under a minute later Moore found Groselle for a layup to keep the margin at single digits, 39-30, before four points by Brandon Boggs in a span of 1:29 to move Western Carolina in front 44-33.
The Catamounts pieced together a 5-2 run over the next 3:36 of the game, pushing the lead to 49-40, before Harris banked home his second 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to move the Dogs back within six.
A pair of long range 3-pointers by Tankelewicz combined with four points off the hand of Sumler provided Western Carolina with a double-digit advantage, 59-47, which they would not relinquish.
Complementing Sumler's four points over the final 4:17 of the contest was the Catamounts perfect 4-of-4 performance from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Horgan notched six points and Van Scyoc added a fastbreak layup to account for The Citadel offense.
Western Carolina took a 36-25 lead into the intermission behind eight points from Ross, who hit all four field goal attempts in the opening frame. Joining Ross in scoring was the combination of Sumler (7 points) and King (6 points). King crashed the boards for three rebounds, leading a WCU unit that finished with 14. The Catamounts finished 11-of-23 (47.8%) from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 (100%) from the free throw line.
The Citadel answered with six points by Robinson and five from Harris, who was drained his first 3-pointer in three games. Elmore grabbed a team-high five rebounds for the Bulldogs, who deadlocked Western Carolina with 14 rebounds apiece. The Dogs knocked down 10-of-26 (38.5%) field goals and were 3-of-11 (27.3%) from beyond the arc.
Western Carolina gained an early 8-4 advantage following a jumper by Ross only to see The Citadel trim the margin to one on a Raemond Robinson 3-pointer at the 13:16 mark. Robinson netted his first collegiate points when teammate Mike Groselle kicked the pass out to Robinson on the left wing for the open trey.
Following a Boggs turnover The Citadel took the second lead of the game, 9-8, on a pair of free throws by Harris. Western Carolina answered with a 10-3 run over the next 3:19 of the game, highlighted by 3-pointers from Sumler and Tankelewicz.
Points in the paint by Stephen Elmore and Groselle kept The Citadel within striking distance, 20-15, before Western Carolina countered with a 10-3 run to stretch the lead to 30-18. In that run Sumler came through with four points for the Catamounts, while King and Boggs added close range buckets.
The Citadel closed the half by scoring five of 11 points, including Robinson's second 3-pointer, to trail 36-25 heading into the intermission.
The Citadel's home stretch of games continues next week when the Dogs play host to Chattanooga (Jan. 10), Samford (Jan. 12) and a meeting with cross-town rival College of Charleston (Jan. 16). All game times are set for 7:05 p.m. at McAlister Field House.