By Carey Phillips
Cold-shooting Western Carolina could not keep up with UNC-Greensboro in the second half and dropped a 72-47 decision in the Southern Conference men’s basketball opener last Thursday at the Ramsey Center.
The Catamounts (7-7, 0-1) shot just 20 percent from the floor in front of a crowd of 1,130. Shooting in the second half was horrendous as they made just three of 31 attempts, including one of 15 on three-pointers. The team scored more points from the foul line (10) than the field (seven) after intermission.
Mikeal Brown-Jones led the Spartans with 19 points. Bas Leyte had 11, and Keondre Kennedy and Kobe Langley both scored 10. Kennedy had a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Tyzhaun Claude and Vonterius Woolbright finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively, for WCU.
The first half was very competitive with nine lead changes and five ties. Neither team led by more than four points, and UNC-G was up 34-30 at halftime.
Woolbright scored with 18:33 left in the game cutting the gap to 34-32, but the Cats would make just two field goals the rest of the game.
It would be almost 15 minutes before the next Western field goal at the 3:35 mark. There also was a three-pointer with 1:37 on the clock. Both of those shots were by Russell Jones.
The Spartans took advantage of the cold shootting to turn the game into a rout. Leyte scored five in a 9-1 run for a 43-33 lead at the 15:15 mark.
UNC-G reeled off 13 straight points, including eight by Kennedy, for a 56-35 margin after Danta Treacy’s layup with 9:57 on the clock.
The game’s largest lead was 71-44 on a layup by Mohammed Abdulsalam at the 1:37 mark.
The Spartans made 49.1 percent of their field goal tries and hit more than half of their three-point attempts (seven of 16).
They also controlled the boards 44-35. Claude led the Cats with seven.
UNC-G committed 13 turnovers, and Western had 10.
Completing the WCU scoring were Jones and Bernard Pelote with eight apiece, Tre Jackson with six and Tyler Harris and D.J. Campbell both with one.