UNCG Spartans reign supreme in Cullowhee

Cats’ guard Devin Peterson being guarded by UNCG Spartans’ guard Francis Alonso, Feb.11, 2017. Photo by Marcus Smith.

Entering the game against the UNC-Greensboro Spartans on Feb. 11, the Western Carolina Catamounts men’s basketball team had dropped 4 of its last 5 matchups. In this intense affair, Catamount fans were highly engaged hoping that this woeful stretch would be put behind them.

During that string of games, the Catamounts let its opponents shoot 38 percent from 3-point territory. Although the Cats came out and jumped to a 20-6 lead early in this contest, it would be much of the same as the team could not stop the three ball. The Spartans shot an impressive 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.

The 3-point scoring machines on the day came from Spartans’ guard Francis Alonso and forward Marvin Smith. Alonso racked up 24 points while shooting 56 percent from deep. His partner-in-crime Marvin Smith shot a spectacular 80 percent from behind the 3-point line obtaining 12 points in the process.

WCU guard Haboubacar Mutombo drives in traffic attempting to draw a foul, Feb. 11, 2017. Photo by Marcus Smith

Whereas, the Catamounts could not buy a shot from 3-point range as the team shot a measly 21.4 percent. Nevertheless, the Cats still had solid contributions from guards Devin Peterson and Haboubacar Mutombo, as well as forward Marc Gosselin. Gosselin chimed in with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and two steals in 35 minutes of action.

However, Devin Peterson and Haboubacar Mutombo ignited the team with their intensity in order to attempt a comeback after the blown lead in the first half. Peterson garnered 20 points while shooting 42 percent from the field.

Haboubacar Mutombo’s scoring picked up midway through the second half following an ankle injury to Devin Peterson. Mutombo was able to amount 17 points while shooting a tremendous 57 percent from the field.

The comeback efforts of WCU, including cutting the Spartans lead to five at one point, were a bust as UNC-Greensboro managed to obtain the victory 76-68.

During the post-game interview, Catamount guard Devin Peterson addressed the performance of his team and his overall performance:

“UNCG, give all credit to them. They’re a great team. They battled back, and hit some good shots. We just lost the intensity. We eventually picked it back up, but they were on a run; it was hard to stop…Basketball’s all about a game of runs.”

“My ability to get to the basket was the best, but I should’ve did a better job of distributing,” said Peterson on his performance.

Additionally, WCU’s coach Larry Hunter addressed his feelings toward the way things turned out.

“Greensboro’s just a really great offensive team. They got a lot of weapons, and Alonso had it going tonight…You just can’t relax. It’s not just one, two, or three guys. They’ve got a great bench…We had some technique flaws on following those 3-point shooters off of screens,” said coach Hunter.

The next game for the Catamounts is a tough contest against Furman on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Ramsey Center. Their first matchup saw WCU get blown away by the Paladins 85-37 on Jan. 25. Guard Devin Peterson said he’s looking for “get back” against them.