|Western Carolina upsets No. 1 Davidson|
|Written by Phil Perry|
|Monday, 10 March 2014 06:18|
Fifth-seeded Western Carolina will head to the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship final after a thrilling 99-97 win over No. 1 seed Davidson in overtime in Sunday’s first semifinal at the U.S. Cellular Center. The Catamounts overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to get the victory, with Trey Sumler hitting a
pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds left in OT to secure the win.
James Sinclair was phenomenal for the Catamounts (19-14), scoring 20 of his game-high 26 points after intermission. Sumler (25) and Brandon Boggs (21) also topped the 20-point mark as the trio combined for 72 of Western’s 99 points.
The Wildcats (20-12) had six players reach double digits, led by Chris Czerapowicz’s 22. SoCon Player of the Year De’Mon Brooks had 17 and Tyler Kalinoski and Jake Belford each tallied 15.
With the score tied at 97 in the waning seconds of overtime, Sumler drove from the right wing and was tripped up by Jack Gibbs with three seconds to go. The senior hit both free throws. The Wildcats’ inbounds pass got to half court, but Kalinoski’s 3-point attempt under duress was awry, sending Western to the title game.
Earlier, Czerapowicz made it a 15-point game, 51-36, with 17:22 to go in the game. The Catamounts methodically worked their way back into the game from there.
A jumper by Sumler at 14:40 cut the lead inside 10 for good. That jumper came after a Brian Sullivan trey from the right corner. It also sparked a 12-3 run that got the Catamounts to within one, 60-59, on a Sinclair jumper at 10:51. The comeback was complete just 38 seconds later when two Sumler free throws gave Western its first lead since 4-2 in the first half.
Wofford downs No. 6 Georgia Southern
Wofford got off to a fast start, racing past Georgia Southern 71-57 in the semifinals of the 94th Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship on Sunday at the U.S. Cellular Center. The Terriers return to the SoCon title game for the first time since 2011.
Lee Skinner led Wofford (19-12) with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Karl Cochran added 14 points and six boards. Eric Garcia (12), Spencer Collins (11) and C.J. Neumann (10) also posted double digits.
Tre’ Bussey and Brian Holmes paced the Eagles (15-19) with 14 points apiece. Angel Matias led the way on the boards with nine.
The Terriers broke the game open in the first half. Leading by five, they went on a 12-2 run to take a 15-point lead, 23-8, on a Garcia 3-pointer at 9:40. The lead never got back to single digits.
Wofford and Western Carolina will meet Monday for the SoCon title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Game time is 9 p.m. in ExploreAsheville.com Arena inside the U.S. Cellular Center. It airs on ESPN2.
No. 1 seed Chattanooga downs No. 5 Elon
Top-seeded Chattanooga cruised to a 77-44 win over No. 5 seed Elon in Sunday’s first semifinal game of the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship at U.S. Cellular Center. The win was the 24th consecutive victory for the Mocs, who will now play for their 15th tourney title.
SoCon Player of the Year Taylor Hall led Chattanooga (28-3) with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Ashlen Dewart added 14 points and seven boards. Elon (15-16) was paced by Kelsey Harris with 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.
The Mocs led throughout, scoring the games’ first eight points. Jenifer Rhodes got the Phoenix within seven, 19-12, at 8:51 of the first half. Chattanooga answered with a 13-2 run capped by two Dewart free throws to take firm control of the game.
It was a 15-point affair, 38-23, early in second half following Lauren Brown’s tip-in at 17:39. The Mocs put the game away with stifling defense. That bucket by the Phoenix was the only one in its first 21 second-half attempts.
Chattanooga went on a 24-5 run over that 13-plus minute stretch to extend the lead to 34 points. Dewart’s three-point play at 6:57 made it a 60-26 advantage, putting the game out of reach.
The Mocs await the winner of Davidson-Western Carolina for the SoCon title and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The title tilt is at 5 p.m. Monday in ExploreAsheville.com Arena inside the U.S. Cellular Center. It airs on CSS and ESPN3.
No. 3 seed Davidson holds off No. 7 Western Carolina
No. 3 seed Davidson overcame No. 7 seed Western Carolina in a hard-fought 74-67 semifinal victory on Sunday at the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship at the U.S. Cellular Center. The Wildcats led by as many as 14 in the second half before the Catamounts caught fire.
Western Carolina (15-17) went on a 17-2 run, taking the lead on two Rena Wakama free throws at 10:09. The lead got to four, 54-50, on a Shauna Terry jumper as the Catamounts allowed just one field goal over an 8:35 period of the game to get the lead.
It was a two-game with Western leading 61-59 when the Wildcats (16-15) regained control. Laura Murray’s two free throws at 1:14 capped a 10-0 run to send Davidson out to an eight-point lead.
WCU battled and got it back to four, 70-66. Murray missed two free throws, but Hannah Early’s rebound of the second miss with 39 seconds to go effectively sealed the win.
Murray led all scorers with 25 points while adding five steals. Dakota Dukes chipped in 18 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the winners. Terry (19) and Justin Taylor (18) combined for 37 points for the Catamounts, with Terry grabbing a season-high 12 boards.
The championship matchup is set. Davidson will meet the No. 1-seeded Chattanooga Mocs for the SoCon title and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship at 5 p.m. Monday in ExploreAsheville.com Arena inside the U.S. Cellular Center. It will be a rematch of the 2013 final, a 64-63 win for the Mocs. The contest airs on CSS and ESPN3.com.
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