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Slow Start, 3-Point Shooting Woes Hinder WCU Men’s Basketball in Road Loss


By Daniel Hooker

Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations


Vonterius Woolbright continued his early-season tear with a game-high 25 points, but Western Carolina was unable to fully overcome both a sluggish start and a poor shooting performance from beyond the arc, coupled with a hot-shooting High Point squad as the Catamounts suffered a 97-71 road setback to the Panthers Tuesday night at the Qubein Center.

Woolbright, who was dubbed the Southern Conference’s Player of the Month for November earlier in the day, posted his eighth double-digit scoring effort through the team’s first eight games by eclipsing the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season. The Albany, Ga., product added seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Catamounts.

Tre Jackson returned to double figures with 17 points including all four of WCU’s made 3-pointers as the Catamounts struggled from range as a team, shooting 4-of-25 (16%) collectively as a team. Making his first start of the season – and just the sixth in his two seasons in Cullowhee – Colin Granger finished with nine points and six rebounds, while DJ Campbell missed double figures for the first time this year, also scoring nine.

Duke Miles paced five Panthers in double figures with a team-best 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, with Kimani Hamilton dumping in 17 points, a team-best six rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots in a busy stat line. Rounding out High Point’s double-digit scorers were Abdoulaye Thiam (16 points), Kezza Giffa (12 points), and Cade Potter (10 points).

High Point (7-3) jumped out to an 11-point lead four minutes into the game on the strength of three made 3-pointers and carried that margin to the 15-minute mark. The Catamounts clawed back to within four points two minutes later at 15-11 with a seven-point burst, but it would prove to be as close as WCU would get the remainder of the contest.

The Panthers built back the double-digit lead near the midpoint of the opening half, stretching it to 24 points at 43-19 inside the final four minutes and carried a 22-point, 47-25 edge into the halftime locker room. The 20-point deficits in the opening 20 minutes represented the largest WCU has faced to date this season.

In the second half, High Point maintained a 20-point advantage until the 13-minute mark as WCU pulled to within 15 points on a Granger three-point play and a transition 3-pointer by Jackson to make it 60-45. But the Catamounts couldn’t claw any closer. High Point managed a 27-point edge late in the half in claiming the third straight over WCU in the head-to-head series.

High Point shot 58.9 percent from the field in the game with seven made 3-pointers with the Catamounts countering with a 43-percent shooting night but struggled with just the four made treys.

Western Carolina (6-2) returns home to Ingles Court at the Ramsey Center to host mountain-rival UNC Asheville (5-4) in Catamount hoops doubleheader action with the men hosting the Bulldogs at 4 p.m. and the women playing the nightcap at 7 p.m. WCU will honor former Catamount men’s basketball standout Kevin Martin, raising his No. 32 to the rafters in the Ramsey Center in a special ceremony.

Tickets for Saturday’s doubleheader are available through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone at (828) 2272-401, or online at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets.

Western Carolina head men’s basketball coach Justin Gray and head women’s basketball coach Kiley Hill will take part in the December installment of the Catamount Coaches Show on Wednesday (Dec. 6) evening, live-on-location at Innovation-Cullowhee located on-campus in Noble Hall. The Facebook LIVE show airs on the Catamount Athletics official Facebook page (fb.com/catamountsports) beginning at 6 p.m.

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