By Carey Phillips
Mason Faulkner scored 24 points Sunday, while making 11 of 12 free throws, leading Western Carolina to a 70-64 non-conference men’s basketball win at Stetson.
A crowd of 522 at the Edmunds Center saw Kameron Gibson add 11 points for the Catamounts (4-2).
Rob Perry paced the Hatters with 15 points. Wheza Panzom followed with 11, and Kenny Aninye had 10.
WCU trailed 24-23 at halftime but took the lead for good at 35-32 on Matt Halvorsen’s three-pointer with 16:26 on the clock.
Onno Steger converted a four-point play putting Western up 47-39 at the 12:42 mark.
The lead reached double figures for the first time at 56-46 on Faulkner’s two foul shots with 7:29 to play.
The largest margin was 66-55 after Xavier Cork’s layup with 3:16 on the clock.
Two missed shots, a missed free throw and a turnover allowed Stetson to go on a 9-1 run cutting the gap to 67-64 with 46 seconds remaining.
The Hatters had a chance to tie or pull within one but failed to convert.
Faulkner made two free throws with seven seconds left, and Steger went one of two from the line with three seconds to play to seal the win.
The Cats opened the game on a 12-2 spurt, including four by Carlos Dotson, capped by Faulkner’s three-pointer at the 13:32 mark.
Stetson responded with 12 unanswered points, including four by Perry, to go up 14-12 after Panzo’s steal and layup with 8:49 on the clock.
The lead went back and forth the rest of the half until Joel Kabimba’s follow shot beat the buzzer giving the Hatters a 24-23 halftime edge.
WCU shot 40.7 percent for the floor, and Stetson made 43.4 percent of its tries. The difference was from long range with the Cats going 11 of 28 and the Hatters hitting four of 16.
Mahamadou Diawara’s seven rebounds helped Stetson to a 34-29 advantage on the boards. Steger led Western with seven.
Both teams took care of the ball, with the Hatters committing nine turnovers and the Cats having eight.
Completing the WCU scoring were Halvorsen with nine, Steger with eight, Dotson with six, and Cork, Tyler Harris and Marcus Thomas all with four.