By Carey Phillips
The Brewer brothers combined for 45 points as East Tennessee rallied in the second half for an 86-78 men’s basketball victory over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference opener Dec. 30 at ETSU’s Freedom Hall.
Other than that game, COVID-19 played havoc with the schedule for the WCU men and women.
Home men’s games with Citadel (Jan. 2) and Furman (Jan. 6) and a game at Samford (Jan. 9) were postponed “due to positive COVID tests and quarantine requirements within WCU’s program,” according to a statement from the school’s athletic department.
Western women’s had three home games postponed because of COVID issues involving their opponents. Those contest were against S.C. State (Dec. 29), Piedmont (Dec. 3) and Southern Wesleyan (Jan. 4).
The Piedmont game was rescheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6. Results were not known at press time.
As for the ETSU game, Ty Brewer scored 24 points, while hitting nine of 11 field goals, including four of five three-pointers. Ledarrius Brewer finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven steals.
They received scoring support from Damari Monsanto with 13 points and Silas Adheke with 12.
Matt Halvorsen paced the Catamounts (7-3, 0-1) with 19 points, Cory Hightower added 14, followed by Mason Faulkner with 13 and Xavier Cork with 12.
The Buccaneers scored 10 straight points, including five by Ledarrius Brewer, early in the second half to take their first lead, 46-41, on Serrel Smith’s three-pointer at the 17:29 mark.
WCU responded with 11 unanswered points for a 52-46 advantage after Hightower’s three-point play with 15:16 on the clock.
The margin reached 58-50 on Cork’s steal and layup at the 13:18 mark.
ETSU countered with a 12-2 run, including four by Adheke, to go up 67-62 following Ty Brewer’s three-pointer with 8:12 on the clock.
The Bucs continued to pull away as Adheke scored four in a 10-2 spurt making it 78-67 on Smith’s two foul shots at the 4:40 mark.
The Cats fought back with a 10-2 run, including four by Cork, cutting the gap to 81-78 with 1:27 on the clock, but they failed to score again.
Western led throughout the first half. The largest margin was 20-8 with 9:22 to play as Faulkner’s three-pointer capped a 12-2 spurt, including five by Travion McCray.
Ty Brewer’s seven points keyed a 9-1 run, narrowing the deficit to 33-30 at the 1:48 mark.
The Cats led 38-33 at halftime.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the floor, with ETSU making 62.1 percent of its attempts in the second half.
Rebounding was also even at 33. Leading their teams were Adheke with eight and Cork with seven.
Western was hurt by 19 turnovers, and the Bucs committed 12.
Completing the WCU scoring were McCray and Tyler Harris with eight apiece and Ahmir Langlais with four.