By Carey Phillips


Western Carolina’s men’s basketball team went 2-1 in the Jerome Kersey Classic hosted by Longwood over the weekend.

The Catamounts (3-3) lost to Maryland-Baltimore County on Friday but bounced back Saturday to edge American then topped Longwood on Sunday.



Darnell Rogers scored 23 points, and Maryland-Baltimore County took control in the second half for a 91-75 win Friday. Keondre Kennedy added 15 points for the Retrievers, and Yaw Obeng-Mensah had 13.

Marvin Price paced WCU with 15 points. He was joined in double figures by Nicholas Robinson with 12, Travion McCray with 11 and Tyler Harris with 10.

Western never led in the second half but was tied 49-49 on McCray’s three-pointer at the 18:34 mark.

Kennedy’s follow shot put UMBC ahead to stay, 51-49, with 18:13 on the clock.

The Retrievers built the lead to 61-52 on Kennedy’s trey at the 13:16 mark.

They broke the game open with an 11-2 run, including four each by Obeng-Mensah and Matteo Picarelli, for a 91-73 margin with 33 seconds left.

The first half was close with seven lead changes and four ties.

The Cats led 45-37 with 2:06 on the clock after an 8-2 run, the last four by Cameron Bacote.

UMBC ended the half on a 10-1 spurt, including five by Rogers, for a 47-46 edge after Szyman Wojcik’s three-pointer with six seconds to play.

WCU shot 61.5 percent from the floor in the first half but cooled off after halftime and finished at 46.4 percent. The Retrievers made 50 percent of their field goal tries.

Kennedy and Obeng--Mensah both had seven rebounds as UMBC had a 37-36 edge on the boards. Robinson and Marlow Gilmore led the Cats with seven apiece.

Western committed 15 turnovers, and the Retrievers had nine.

Completing the WCU scoring were Bacote with nine, Gilmore and Madison Monroe both with five, Vonterius Woolbright with four, and Joe Petrakis and Marcus Banks with two apiece.



The Cats led most of the first half then held on at the end to nip American 80-79 Saturday.

Robinson scored 20 points, followed by Bacote with 16, Petrakis with 15 and Woolbright with 11.

Jaxon Knotek led the Eagles with 21 points. Stacy Beckton and Matt Rogers both scored 12, and Colin Smalls had 11.

American opened the second half on a 14-2 run, including six by Johnny O’Neil and five by Knotek, for a 45-43 edge with 14:31 on the clock.

That was the first of 10 lead changes, to go with four ties, in the period.

WCU took the lead for good, 67-64, on Petrakis’ three-pointer at the 4:26 mark.

The margin reached 78-71 on Harris’ trey with 1:02 remaining.

Three consecutive misses on the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities allowed the Eagles to close within 80-79 with nine seconds to go.

They had a chance to win but missed a shot at the buzzer.

Western reeled off 12 straight points, including seven by Petrakis, to lead 12-5 on McCray’s layup with 14:41 to play in the first half.

The lead was 24-15 after Robinson’s layup with 9:30 on the clock.

Knotek scored seven in a 10-2 run cutting the gap to 26-25 on Smalls’ basket at the 4:34 mark.

An 11-2 spurt, including four by Woolbright, built the lead to 40-29 on Robinson’s three-pointer with 46 seconds left, and it was 42-31 at halftime.

WCU made 52.6 percent of its field goal tries, and American shot 46.2 percent.

Robinson’s eight rebounds helped the Cats control the boards 40-33. Rogers led the Eagles with nine.

Western committed 12 turnovers, and American had nine.

Rounding out the WCU scoring were McCray and Gilmore both with six and Harris and Price with three each.



The Cats made 14 of 39 three-pointers Sunday, while holding Longwood to four of 26 from long range, to take a 64-53 victory.

Both teams struggled from the floor as WCU made 36.7 percent of its attempts and limited the Lancers to 30.3 percent.

Woolbright led Western with 16 points. Petrakis finished with 12, and Robinson and Banks both had 11.

Longwood’s Leslie Nkereuwem led all scorers with 17, and Justin Hill had 10.

The Lancers used a 13-2 run, including four by Nkereuwem, to lead 17-9 on Nate Lliteras’ three-pointer with 14:01 to play in the first half. They hit three treys in the spurt but made just one the rest of the game.

Western fought back to take a 23-21 lead on Banks’ three-pointer at the 5:43 mark.

The Cats were up 29-27 at halftime after Robinson’s trey with 1:10 on the clock.

WCU led throughout the second half and opened a 52-41 advantage on Woolbright’s layup with 6:05 to play.

McCray’s 11 rebounds and Woolbright’s 10 helped the Cats to a 47-44 edge on the boards. Isaiah Wilkins led Longwood with nine.

Western committed 15 turnovers, and the Lancers had eight.

Completing the WCU scoring were Bacote with eight and McCray with six.