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  • Steven Grandy / WCU

Catamounts Record Second Straight Overtime Win Sunday Against Lindenwood

Russell Jones Jr.’s three-point play with six seconds remaining in overtime lifted Western Carolina to a 90-88 victory over Lindenwood on Sunday at the Legacy Center as part of the McNeese State MTE.

WCU improves to 4-2 on the season, earning its fourth straight win and second straight overtime triumph following a 98-91 win over Lamar on Saturday. Lindenwood drops to 2-4.

Tre Jackson led WCU with 19 points followed by Jones Jr. with 17. Tyzhaun Claude posted his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Vonterius Woolbright narrowly missed a triple-double with 15 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Tyler Harris also finished in double figures with 12 points.

Cam Burrell led Lindenwood with 24 points, with Kevin Caldwell Jr adding 20 points. Chris Childs and Keenan Cole both finished with 13 points.

Tied at six following a Colin Granger layup with just over 16 minutes remaining in the first half, Lindenwood used a Cole three-point play followed by a 3-pointer to lead 15-8 with 11:50 remaining in the period. The Lions held a 17-11 lead at the midpoint of the half and took a 21-13 advantage on a Burrell jumper with 8:23 to play. A trio of Jackson free throws brought WCU within five, 21-16 before a Cole 3-pointer gave the Lions a 28-18 edge with 5:26 to go. Lindenwood led by as many as 12 points with a Claude layup sending the Catamounts into the halftime locker room down 38-28.

Following a Burrell layup that put Lindenwood ahead 43-32 with just over 17 minutes remaining, the Catamounts answered with an 8-0 run as a Harris 3-pointer brought WCU within three, 43-40, at the 15:54 mark. Caldwell Jr. pushed the Lion lead back to eight, 48-40, just under two minutes later and Lindenwood led 74-66 thanks to a Burrell bucket with 2:12 remaining.

WCU used three throws to chip away at its deficit as Claude made two shots with 1:54 left and Jones Jr. made his three after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1:16 remaining. After Caldwell Jr. missed his second free throw with 26 seconds left, Claude grabbed the defensive rebound and Jackson sank a 3-pointer to bring WCU within three, 77-74. Childs was fouled and made his two shots with the Catamounts answering back on a Jackson 3-pointer to make the score 79-77 in favor of Lindenwood with six seconds left. Childs returned to the free throw line after being fouled, making one of two shots for an 80-77 lead. Jones Jr. was fouled with two seconds left after making his first shot, and missed the second but the Catamounts grabbed the offensive rebound and forced overtime as a Claude layup sank the tying basket before time expired.

Trailing 88-84 with 54 seconds remaining in overtime, a Harris 3-pointer brought the Catamounts within one with 42 seconds left. Following a missed layup by Caldwell Jr., Jones Jr. grabbed the defensive rebound and made the go-ahead basket with six seconds left for an 89-88 lead. The Blythewood, S.C. native was fouled on the play and made his free throw for the game’s final point.

Both teams finished with 43 rebounds. For the game, WCU finished 31-for-76 (40.8 percent) from the field, 10-for-32 (31.3 percent) behind the 3-point line, and 18-for-21 (85.7 percent) at the free throw line. Lindenwood was 35-for-68 (51.5 percent) from the field, 5-for-9 (55.6 percent) in 3-point attempts, and 13-for-20 (65 percent) at the charity stripe.

Western Carolina is off until visiting mountain rival UNC Asheville on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with Catamount Sports Network coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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