- Steven Grandy / WCU
Men’s Basketball Hosts The Citadel on Wednesday
Western Carolina men’s basketball hits the midpoint of the 2022-23 Southern Conference schedule on Wednesday as the Catamounts welcome The Citadel to Ingles Court at the Ramsey Center for the back-end of the league home-and-home with tip-off at 7 p.m.
The first 500 WCU students through the doors will receive a FREE purple glowstick to use during the pregame player introductions as well as during the first “Purple Thunder” drumline performance of the season at halftime. Also at intermission, the U.S. Army will hold a swearing-in ceremony for five new soldiers.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game can be purchased in advance online at CatamountSports.com, by phone at (828) 227-2401, or at the Ramsey Center box office. As a reminder, WCU Athletics continues to adhere to a clear bag policy for all home men's and women's basketball games in the Ramsey Center. Only standard clear bags, 12-inches by 6-inches by 12-inches in size, small purses approximately 4.5-inches by 5-inches not including the strap, and clear gallon-size storage bags are permitted. Diaper bags (child must be present upon entry) and any medical-related bags will be allowed.
Wednesday’s game will be streamed on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live audio coverage on the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 6:30 p.m. Free live stats will be available via a link on CatamountSports.com.
WCU enters the week 11-10 overall and 4-4 in SoCon action, amidst a two-way tie for fourth in the standings after a 74-65 road loss against Samford on Saturday. Vonterius Woolbright led the Catamounts with 18 points followed by Tyzhaun Claude with 17 and Russell Jones Jr. with 10. Woolbright and Claude both grabbed six rebounds in Birmingham. Woolbright has scored in double-figures in four-consecutive games averaging 21.0 points per game during that stretch to raise his seasonal average to 14.0 points per game including the sixth-best SoCon-only scoring average at 16.4 ppg. Claude continues to pace the Catamounts in scoring (15.0 ppg, 6th) and rebounding (8.3 rpg, 2nd), with Tre Jackson (13.4 ppg) and Jones Jr. (10.0 ppg) giving WCU four averaging double figures.
The Citadel is 8-12 and 3-5 after a 60-52 road win over archrival VMI. Austin Ash led the Bulldogs with 17 points followed by Stephen Clark with 15 and David Maynard with 13. Clark grabbed a team-best nine rebounds and swatted three blocks. Clark paces the Cadets with a 16.9 point per game average – third-best in the SoCon – which increases to 18.8 ppg in SoCon-only games. Ash ranks tied with WCU’s Claude for sixth in the league at 15.0 points per contest.
Two of the top 3-point shooters in the SoCon will be on display in Cullowhee on Wednesday night. WCU’s Jackson paces the league with 70 triples on the season, averaging 3.5 per game, while Ash from The Citadel has drained 67 3-pointers, just behind with a 3.4 average per game. Jackson ranks fourth in 3-point field goal percentage at 42.9-percent with the Bulldogs’ Jackson Price boasting the best average at 48.7-percent (19-of-39).
The Bulldogs and Catamounts have met 85 previous times with WCU leading the all-time series 45-40. Earlier this month, the Bulldogs grabbed a 65-61 win in Charleston and have won the last two series outings. Playing on their home court has been beneficial to WCU in the series as the Catamounts have won six straight home contests and nine of the last 10 matchups over the Bulldogs in Cullowhee.
The Catamounts return to the road on Saturday (Jan. 28) heading to VMI for a 1 p.m. tip-off in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with audio through the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 12:30 p.m.