By Carey Phillips
Mason Faulkner hit a three-pointer with less than a second remaining in overtime Sunday lifting Western Carolina to a 76-75 non-conference men’s basketball victory over winless Tennessee Tech at the Ramsey Center.
The Catamounts (5-1) completed a 3-0 week with all of the non-conference games being at home.
Faulkner finished with 23 points against Tech. Xavier Cork added 14, and Travion McCray had 12.
Faulkner missed the two previous games with an ankle injury.
Junior Clay and Kei-shawn Davidson paced the Golden Eagles with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Tech didn’t trail in OT until the final shot. Davidson’s two free throws with six seconds to go put his team up 75-73.
The Eagles led 69-63 on Clay’s basket with 1:42 to play in regulation.
WCU tied it 69-69 on McCray’s trey at the 1:12 mark, and that was the final points in regulation.
Western’s biggest lead was 42-35 on Tyler Harris’ layup with 15:32 left in the second half.
Tech was in front 21-10 on Clay’s three-pointer with 8:04 to go in the first half.
Matt Halvorsen hit a pair of three-pointers in a 15-2 run as the Cats moved ahead 25-23 with 3:54 on the clock.
Davidson’s basket with two seconds left sent the teams to the locker room tied 29-29.
Harris was the game’s top rebounder with 10.
Completing the WCU scoring were Halvorsen and Ahmir Langlais both with nine, Harris with six and Sin’Cere McMahon with three.
McCray scored 26 points last Thursday leading the Cats to a 91-84 win over Newberry. Providing scoring support were Cork with 18, McMahon with 14 and Halvorsen with 12.
Marcus Ford led the Wolves with 27 points Quandaveon McCollum added 13, followed by T.J. Brown with 12 and Tai Giger with 10.
The game was an addition to the schedule and replaced a contest with Bowling Green, which was canceled.
Western shot 62.5 percent from the floor and built its winning margin at the foul line by going 20 of 25. Newberry attempted just two free throws as WCU was whistled for only eight fouls compared to 21 for the Wolves.
The Cats led 20-10 on McCray’s three-pointer with 14:06 to go in the first half.
Ford’s trey with 34 seconds left cut the gap to 45-43 at halftime.
Another three-pointer by Ford gave Newberry a 58-54 lead with 14:10 remaining.
Western took the lead for good at 65-62 on McCray’s three-pointer at the 10:40 mark.
McMahon’s jumper made it 87-79 with 2:41 on the clock.
Rounding out the WCU scoring were Harris with nine, Marcus Thomas with five, Langlais with four and Josh Massey with three.
Western outscored Division III Piedmont 27-2 in the first 10 minutes of the second half en route to a 96-58 victory Nov. 30.
Halvorsen and McMahon both scored 20 points, and Halvorsen eclipsed 1,000 points for his career. Harris and Cork finished with 10 points apiece, and Cork claimed 10 rebounds.
Ryan Jolly scored 19 points for the Lions, and Orry Clements-Owens had 13.
McCray scored seven and Halvorsen hit a pair of three-pointers in the second half run that resulted in a 70-41 lead.
The margin reached 92-52 on Daniel Ransom’s two foul shots with 2:32 remaining.
Piedmont led much of the first half before WCU went ahead for good, 30-28, on Harris’ three-pointer with four minutes to go.
The Cats led 43-39 at halftime.
Completing the WCU scoring were McCray and Ransom with seven apiece, Massey with six, Langlais and Thomas both with four, Tyler McGhie and Kennedy Miles with three each and Brad Halvorsen with two.