Bad news for the Mercer Bears, Catamounts win 60-52

The Catamounts huddle up before they take on Mercer. Barrett Boyles. 2015

The Catamounts huddle up before they take on Mercer.
Photo by Barrett Boyles. 2015

Western Carolina University’s most important conference game of the season ended in triumph tonight as the Catamounts defeated the Mercer Bears 60 to 52.

The 9-11 Catamounts took on the 11-10 Bears of Mercer who were still riding high from their win over Duke in the 2014 NCAA tournament.

There was much speculation leading up to the game on whether or not the Catamounts could keep up with the first place Bear’s high powered offense. When the first half started, the Bears looked to be too much for the Catamounts, out-rebounding WCU 23 to 13. This allowed Mercer to hold on to that lead for the entire first half. Despite the deficit, the Catamounts stood their ground and managed to hold Mercer’s lead to only four points at halftime.

“Our shooting was not that good in the first half, so we had to make a jump near the end in order to stay in the game,” said the Catamount’s head coach, Larry Hunter.

At the start of the second half the Catamounts looked like a completely different team and quickly took advantage of the game. With the Catamounts being able to out-rebound Mercer in the second half, this gave them the opportunity to hold the Bears to less shots.  The Catamounts got another spark when guard Rhett Harrelson hit back to back three pointers to give them a 4 point lead in which the Catamounts never looked back. WCU senior James Sinclair led the team with 19 points and 5 assists.

On the teams big win, Sinclair said “Beating the number 1 team will get anyone excited, but we need to keep moving forward and get ready for out next game.”

The Cats are set to go on a three game road streak where they will play Samford, VMI, and UNCG.
WCU will be back at the Ramsey to play Samford on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.