GAME NOTES: A pair of teams trying to snap strings of back-to-back losses meet in Boone, North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, as the Western Carolina Catamounts tangle with the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Southern Conference action.
Western Carolina won the first meeting between the two schools this season, 70-64, in Cullowhee on Dec. 8, 2012. Tom Tankelewicz led four WCU players in double figures with 19 points, while Jay Canty countered with 22 for the Mountaineers.
WCU lost at home to Georgia Southern, 72-66, a week ago. Tankelewicz scored a game-high 20 points. Brandon Boggs tallied 14 points and came up just one rebound shy of a double-double. Tawaski King netted 12 points and seven boards. After starting the season 4-0 in league play, the Catamounts have lost four of their last six SoCon contests.
Trey Sumler leads the Catamounts in scoring at 17.6 ppg as part of a balanced offense. King (11.5 ppg), Tankelewicz (10.6 ppg) and Boggs (10.4 ppg) are also in double figures for a team that leads the Southern Conference with an average of eight steals per game. The Catamounts have led the league in steals as a team for four consecutive seasons (2008-12).
Appalachian State is coming off a 72-59 loss at the College of Charleston this past Wednesday night. Tevin Baskin led the Mountaineers with 16 points and Canty scored 11. Appalachian State had won five straight at home prior to a 79-56 loss to Davidson last Saturday.
Like the Catamounts, the Mountaineers also feature a balanced offensive attack with four players averaging double figures. Canty leads the way with 14.3 points, and he is followed closely by Nathan Healy (14.2), who also leads the team with 7.5 rpg. Healy is fourth in the SoCon in rebounding. Also scoring in double figures is Tab Hamilton (10.7) and Tevin Baskin (10.5). ASU has the third-best offense in terms of point production in the SoCon at 70.9 ppg, but the Mountaineers are giving up 72.8 per contest, which is second-worst in the conference.
The Mountaineers have won seven of their last eight home meetings against the Catamounts. A victory today would give WCU its longest win streak at three straight over the Mountaineers since taking five in a row in the series between 1995-96. Appalachian State is 59-22 when facing the Catamounts at home. Expect a tight contest throughout.
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