Despite scrappy effort from a short-handed Spartan team, Catamounts prevail late

Western Carolina improved to 4-0 in conference play when they defeated UNC-Greensboro 62-59 Saturday, January 12. The Spartans came into the matchup in need of a win having lost 9 of their last 11, but would have to do it without all of it’s weapons. Starting point guard Korey Van Dussen is out for six weeks due to a broken hand while leading scorer Trevis Simpson was sidelined with a concussion. Nonetheless, the Spartans put forth a scrappy effort and came just short of handing the Catamounts their first conference loss.

Much like a football game, physicality was the theme throughout in this conference matchup. Strong defensive showings from both teams led to poor execution on the offensive side as they forced 15 turnovers each. Western Carolina who relies heavily on their 3-point shooting only managed to knock down one shot from the beyond the arc while both teams struggled to finish around the rim. With so many missed opportunities in the paint, this game would come down to rebounding and free throws. Both of which went in favor of the Catamounts. Western Carolina won the battle on the glass as they vacuumed up 41 rebounds with James Sinclair leading the way with 8. With the offense struggling to find any type of production, the catamounts to advantage of their free throw opportunities by knocking down 31-38 (81.6%) from the charity stripe.

However, the Spartans refused to roll over. Derrell Armstrong with his game high 25 points, continued to come up with big shots in the winding seconds of the game. He knocked down two clutch baskets from beyond the arc to keep his teams hopes of an upset alive. It was Armstrong who got the last crack at it as his final 3-point heave hit off the back iron and the catamounts survived to remain undefeated in the Southern Conference.

Western Carolina’s next game will be Monday, Jan. 14 when they play host to conference foe Elon.