Cats bitten by dogs in season opener

Tawaski King goes for two of his of his 13 points. Photo by: Ashley Evans

The catamount’s season opener didn’t go as planned when they suffered a loss at the hand of the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs Friday, Nov. 9, in Asheville, NC.

It was a sluggish start for both squads offensively due to the defensive intensity from both sides. Western Carolina received a strong showing from Trey Sumler and Tom Tankelewics as they chipped in nine points each in the first half. The only other bright spot for Western Carolina was a double-double recorded by Tawaski King with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Defense dominated the first half as the catamounts took a 32-30 lead into the intermission, but it was a tale of two halves.

The second half belonged to the bulldogs and Jeremy Atkinson as he scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He led the team in both categories. UNC-Asheville Head Coach Eddie Biedenbach also received a strong effort showing from D.J. Cunningham with 12 points, nine rebounds, and Will Weeks who added 13 points, six rebounds of his own.

The difference in the game came from the free-throw line as the catamounts shot an abysmal 52% while the bulldogs knocked down 72% of their opportunities from the charity stripe. The catamounts also didn’t help their case by shooting 31% from the field while the bulldogs connected on 46% of their shots. Brandon Boggs also received an early exit from the contest when he fouled out after scoring just nine points.

The bulldogs took full profit in their size advantage as they carved up the catamounts on the inside by outscoring them 46-28 in the paint. Despite making the mistakes that the catamounts did, they still remained competitive throughout the contest. This has the potential to be a good sing for the catamounts if they can find a way to correct these mistakes.

They will try to find their rhythm when they head to Cancun this week for the 2012 Cancun Challenge beginning November 15, 2012 where they will take on the Shockers of Wichita State