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  • Steven Grandy / WCU

Catamounts Cruise Past Brescia in 2022-23 Home Opener

Redshirt sophomore guard Bernard Pelote led seven players in double figures with a career-best 18 points as Western Carolina downed Brescia 112-45 in its 2022-23 home opener on Sunday afternoon on Ingles Court at the Ramsey Center.

WCU improves to 1-2 with the win while the game was considered an exhibition for the Bearcats.

Pelote finished 6-for-12 from the field and 6-for-11 behind the 3-point line. Making his first collegiate start, freshman DJ Campbell tallied a career-best 17 points and 10 assists followed by Russell Jones Jr. with 14. Redshirt junior Tyzhaun Claude posted a double-double with 13 points and a career-best 12 rebounds while Tyler Harris also tallied 13 points. Freshman Marcus Kell tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double with Vonterius Woolbright also posting a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Miles McClure (six points) and junior Colin Granger (four points) also contributed career-best offensive days in the win.

As a team, the Catamounts went 18-for-42 (42.9 percent) behind the 3-point line with 18 made 3-pointers tying for second-most in a game in program history and the 42 3-point attempts ranking fifth in the all-time record books.

Tay Smith led Brescia with 14 points followed by Linkin Lockhart with 12.

The Catamounts opened the game on a 10-3 run and pushed their lead to double-digits, 16-5, following a Pelote 3-pointer at the 13:46 mark. After a Bearcat bucket cut the WCU lead to nine points, Harris drained a 3-pointer on the next Catamount possession as WCU wouldn’t lead by less than double figures the rest of the way. A Campbell dunk put WCU ahead by a first half-best 25 points, 43-18, and the Catamounts took a 43-20 lead into halftime.

Michael Caswell opened the second half scoring for the Bearcats at the 19:10 mark but the Catamounts quickly pushed their lead to 30, 52-22, on a Jones Jr 3-pointer with 17 minutes remaining. WCU led 76-28 at the midpoint of the second half and led by a game-best 107-37 score on a Campbell layup with just over two minutes left. Javeion Walden’s layup with 18 seconds left served as the final made basket of the game.

For the game, WCU finished 37-for-73 (50.7 percent) from the field, making 18 of 42 (42.9 percent) of its 3-point attempts and also converting 20 of 22 (90.8 percent) of its free throw opportunities. Brescia finished 15-for-71 (21.1 percent) from the field, 4-for-19 (21.1 percent) behind the 3-point line, and 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) at the free throw line. WCU held a 64-33 advantage in rebounds.

WCU heads to the McNeese State MTE next weekend, facing the host Cowboys on Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern followed by a 3 p.m. Eastern Saturday contest against Lamar and a Noon Eastern Sunday game against Lindenwood.

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