GAME NOTES: A BracketBuster meeting is on tap at the Ramsey Center on Saturday, as the Western Carolina Catamounts host the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina is fresh off a 65-64 win over UNC-Asheville. It was the fourth win in the last six games for the Chanticleers, who are now 13-12 overall, and 8-6 in Big South Conference play. After this matchup they will head back home to host Winthrop.
The Catamounts most recently suffered a 67-65 loss to the College of Charleston. It was the second consecutive loss for Western Carolina coming on the tail end of a three-game win streak. Now at 11-17 overall, WCU is an even 8-8 in Southern Conference play. This is the second of a four-game homestand to end the regular season for WCU.
The Chanticleers lead the all-time series 4-2 and have won the last three meetings. The last time these squads hit the hardwood together was in 2002, when Coastal Carolina won 77-72 in Cullowhee.
With four seconds left, trailing by one point to UNC-Asheville, Kierre Greenwood hit a jumper to give the Chanticleers the lead 65-64. Although it was Greenwood's heroics that won the game, Anthony Raffa led the squad with 22 points and three steals, while knocking down four 3-pointers. Badou Diagne added 12 points and was the only other Coastal player to score in double figures.
Raffa has been the key guy for Coastal Carolina this season as he averages 18.8 ppg and shoots 47.0 percent from the field. He is also the only player to start all 25 games this season. Greenwood adds 12.5 ppg and Warren Gillis contributes 10.3. The team plays its best on the defensive end where it holds opposing teams to 40.8 percent shooting from the floor and just 62.1 ppg.
In the loss to Charleston, Trey Sumler played 39 of the 40 minutes and supplied a 24-point performance for the Catamounts. Preston Ross was the only other WCU player to score in double figures, tallying 12 points off the bench. Tawaski King added nine points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. The squad shot just 36.6 percent from the field on 71 attempts and hit just 5-of-19 from beyond the arc.
Sumler is WCU's top scorer this season with 18.4 ppg, while shooting over 83.0 percent from the free-throw line. King adds 11.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg and Tom Tankelewicz contributes 10.2 ppg. While the Catamounts score just over 69.0 ppg, they also allow just under 70.0 ppg and are a .500 team at home.
Since the Catamounts haven't been very dominant at home and the Chanticleers are just 2-9 in away competition, this game could go either way. Coastal Carolina plays much better defense and if it is able to put points on the board it could be tough for the Catamounts to keep up.
Game Date and Time