By Carey Phillips
Mason Faulkner scored 22 points Saturday leading Western Carolina to a 71-59 non-conference men’s basketball victory over Gardner-Webb before 1,735 fans at the Ramsey Center.
Carlos Dotson added 15 points, and Kameron Gibson had 13 for the Catamounts (1-1).
Eric Jamison and Jose Perez scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs.
G-W had a quick 5-0 lead on Perez’s basket with 18:08 to play in the first half.
There were five lead changes and two ties in the half. Western took the lead for good at 15-12 on Gibson’s three-pointer with 6:37 on the clock.
The margin reached 27-20 after Matt Halvorsen’s three-pointer at the 1:24 mark, and it was 27-22 at halftime.
Dotson got some national television exposure by making the top 10 plays Saturday night/Sunday morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter. He checked in at #5 with a circus shot off the glass with 14:17 remaining. He was fouled on the play, and the free throw put the Cats up 39-31.
Gibson had a pair of three-pointers in a 9-2 spurt for a 51-38 advantage with 11:09 to play.
The largest lead was 63-47 on Faulkner’s follow shot at the 6:41 mark.
WCU shot 38.2 percent from the floor, and G-W hit 42.1 percent of its attempts. The Cats made nine three-pointers and were 20 of 32 from the foul line. The Bulldogs hit just two treys and made nine free throws in 14 attempts.
Western had a 39-36 rebounding edge. Dotson had seven boards. Jamison and Perez toped G-W with seven apiece.
The Bulldogs committed 22 turnovers, and the Cats had 18.
Completing the WCU scoring were Onno Steger and Xavier Cork with seven apiece, Halvorsen with five and Douglas Elks with two.