By Carey Phillips
Western Carolina held leads of 20 points in the first half and 15 points in the second half but was pressed into overtime Saturday before claiming a 104-98 non-conference men’s basketball victory at N.C. A&T.
A trio of players hit the 20-point mark for the Catamounts (6-1). Matt Halvorsen led the way with 23, followed by Xavier Cork with 22 and Mason Faulkner with 20. Tyler Harris was right behind with 19, and Travion McCray had 11.
Cork had a double-double with 14 rebounds.
Quentin Jones paced the Aggies with 27 points. Kameron Langley added 20, and Kew Parker had 18.
A&T’s only overtime lead was 89-88 after Langley made one of two foul shots with 4:33 on the clock.
McCray’s layup put WCU ahead to stay, 93-91, at the 2:11 mark.
Marcus Thomas, who scored all five of his points in OT, helped put the game away with a layup for a 101-96 lead with 38 seconds remaining.
Langley scored four in a 12-3 run as the Aggies closed within 63-60 with 11:13 to go in regulation.
Western countered with an 11-1 spurt, including five by Harris, building the margin to 80-65 on Faulkner’s follow shot at the 7:22 mark.
Langley’s rebound basket capped a 12-2 spurt cutting the gap to 86-85 with 1:55 on the clock.
He made one of two foul shots with 27 seconds left for an 88-88 tie.
The Cats used an 18-2 run, including eight by Faulkner, to build a 46-26 lead on Josh Massey’s layup with 3:17 to play in the first half.
A&T ended the half on a 10-2 spurt, including a pair of treys by Parker, narrowing the deficit to 48-36.
Western made five of six field goals in OT and finished at 58.2 percent while holding the Aggies to 48.6 percent.
Completing the WCU scoring were Massey and Ahmir Langlais with two apiece.