Catamount Men's Basketball Visits Middle Tennessee Monday Evening
Riding the momentum of the program’s fourth victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent with Saturday’s 10-point, 71-61 win at Notre Dame, Western Carolina men’s basketball is back in action on Monday (Nov. 13) as the Catamounts visit Middle Tennessee for 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT tip-off against the Blue Raiders in the Murphy Center.
Monday’s will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with coverage from the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. Fans can listen to CSN locally in Sylva on 105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC, The River, with live streaming audio through PrestoSports and a link to live stats both available on CatamountSports.com.
Both teams enter Monday’s matchup undefeated with WCU scoring wins over Dalton State and the win in South Bend, Ind. The Blue Raiders play their third of five-straight home games to open the season, perfect with victories over Northern Kentucky and Stephen F. Austin in overtime to open the campaign.
WCU (2-0) has four players averaging double-digit points through the first two games in the young season, paced by the Southern Conference’s Preseason Player of the Year, Vonterius Woolbright. A product of Albany, Ga., who is in his third season in Cullowhee, Woolbright averaged a team-leading 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game last week to start the season. He ranks second in the conference in scoring average, is sixth in rebounding, and second in assists after the first week.
Sophomore DJ Campbell has scored in double figures twice to average 15.0 points per game, while Russell Jones Jr. poured in a season-high 20 points at Notre Dame for his 14.0 ppg. Bernard Pelote is a third Catamount to average double-figure scoring to date at 11.0 points per game.
Tied with Liberty as the preseason polling pick to win Conference USA this year, Middle Tennessee (2-0) placed two on the preseason All-Conference USA team in Camryn Weston and Elias King. The latter, King, paces four Blue Raiders in scoring at 14 points per game on 50-percent shooting, while Weston is averaging 11 points per contest to date. That duo is joined by Justin Bufford (12.0 ppg) and Jacob Johnson (11.5 ppg).
The Blue Raiders are predicated on defense, especially at home, in holding their opponents to an average of 59.5 points per game this season. That extends its run over the last 33 home games in limiting teams to an average of 59.4 points per game. During that stretch, MTSU was 31-2 at the Murphy Center.
Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee have met just three times previously on the men’s basketball hardwood with the Blue Raiders holding winning twice. The two programs first met in a neutral floor contest in Marion, N.C., in 1973 before splitting a home-and-home in the 1980-81 season, both winning on their respective home floors. WCU is 0-1 in Murfreesboro.
The Catamounts have played six of the nine teams currently in Conference USA, posting a 4-10 overall record with wins over MTSU, Liberty (2-2), and La Tech (1-1).
Following Monday’s road game, the Catamounts return home to the friendly confines of Ingles Court in the Ramsey Center for back-to-back nonconference home games a little over a week apart. WCU hosts McNeese State on Saturday, Nov. 18, with a 4 p.m. tip-off in Cullowhee after the Catamounts won in Lake Charles, La., a season ago. On Sunday, Nov. 26, Western Carolina hosts North Alabama for the first time with a 4 p.m. start in the Ramsey Center.