GAME NOTES: The College of Charleston Cougars head to the Ramsey Center to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts in a Southern Conference matchup.
Charleston has won seven of its last eight contests, including Saturday's 69-60 triumph over Georgia Southern. The Cougars entered the week three games behind SoCon South Division-leading Davidson with four games to play in the regular season. They have fared well outside of Charleston, posting a 9-3 record in road games this season.
Meanwhile, Western Carolina is coming off an 80-73 overtime loss at Elon over the weekend. That result snapped a three-game winning streak for the Catamounts, who are in the middle of the pack in the SoCon North Division. Tonight's contest is the first of a four-game homestand to close out the regular season.
In terms of the head-to-head series between these two programs, Charleston holds a 17-7 lead.
The Cougars led GSU by as many as 23 points with less than eight minutes to play in Saturday's matchup, although a late rally by the Eagles saw the margin dwindle to six in the final two minutes. Still, Charleston was able to hang on for the victory, thanks in part to Willis Hall's team-high 18 points and a double-double from Adjehi Baru, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony Stitt rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points. On the season, Anthony Lawrence paces the squad with 13.2 points per game. He and Stitt (10.8 ppg) have combined to knock down 91 3-pointers at a 38-percent success rate. Baru headlines the frontcourt with 10.0 points and a team-best 8.6 rebounds per tilt, and he is shooting 51 percent from the floor. CofC is +5.3 in rebounding margin but is -3.1 in the turnover department.
Leading the way for Western Carolina is redshirt junior guard Trey Sumler (18.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg), the conference's second-leading scorer and leader in minutes played (37.5). Sumler does a little bit of everything, as he also ranks second in the league in steals (2.1 spg) and is a 36-percent shooter from beyond the arc (45-of-124). Tom Tankelewicz (10.2 ppg) is the SoCon leader with 2.7 threes made per game, while Tawaski King (11.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) takes care of business in the paint for the Catamounts. Against Elon on Saturday, WCU erased a 12-point second-half deficit only to fall in overtime. Tankelewicz buried 7-of-12 3-pointers en route to a game-high 23 points. Sumler added 19 points and Preston Ross scored 12 off the bench, but defensively the Catamounts allowed Elon to shoot 52.2 percent from the floor in addition to attempting 40 free throws.
After letting Georgia Southern claw its way back into Saturday's matchup, look for the Cougars to make a point of maintaining their focus for a full 40 minutes. As long as they can limit Sumler's looks, they should be able to win this one on the road.
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