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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 23, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ramsey Center (7,826) -- Cullowhee, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Davidson 2-4, WCU 8-0. Away Record: Davidson 5-3, WCU 2-8. Neutral Record: Davidson 1-4, WCU 1-1. Conference Record: Davidson 4-1, WCU 4-1. Series Record: Davidson leads, 40-20.
GAME NOTES: The Western Carolina Catamounts welcome the Davidson Wildcats to the Ramsey Center for a Southern Conference clash on Thursday night.
Davidson rebounded from its first SoCon loss in more than a calendar year with a 93-82 win at UNCG this past Saturday. The Wildcats have struggled to an 8-11 overall record this season but are off to a 4-1 start in conference play. Following this tilt, they'll return to campus for a three-game homestand.
Meanwhile, Western Carolina suffered its first conference loss at Wofford on Monday night as it fell, 71-60. That outcome snapped a five-game winning streak for the Catamounts. However, they'll now return to the familiar confines of the Ramsey Center, where they remain unbeaten in eight tries this season.
Davidson has won the last four head-to-head meetings with WCU and leads the all-time series, 40-20.
The Wildcats displayed marksman-like accuracy in their win over UNCG, as they connected on 8-of-16 3-pointers and shot a season-best 35-of-39 at the foul line to notch the double-digit victory. Davidson took an eight-point halftime lead into the locker room, then kept the pressure on the Spartans by shooting 61 percent from the floor in the second half, continuing a trend of steady offensive production since league play began. The Wildcats are shooting 51.1 percent as a team and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc against SoCon foes. Preseason player of the year De'Mon Brooks (17.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg) led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds against UNCG. Jack Gibbs (6.8 ppg) chipped in with 17 points off the bench, and Brian Sullivan (12.3 ppg) rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 14 points.
WCU is headlined by the backcourt trio of Trey Sumler (18.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.4 apg), James Sinclair (10.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Brandon Boggs (10.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Sumler does a little bit of everything, as he has the ability to set up teammates with open looks, help out on the glass, and shoot the three (42 percent). However, the Catamounts had a rough outing at Wofford on Monday night as they shot a dismal 31.7 percent from the floor as a team. Things got progressively worse after halftime, when they made only nine field goals and shot just 21 percent inside the perimeter. Sumler turned in his usual solid effort with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 efficiency from beyond the arc. Sinclair was the only other player to join him in double figures, finishing with 13 points to go along with four steals.
For the first time in a few years, the Southern Conference looks to be truly up for grabs given Davidson's early-season struggles. The Catamounts are certainly one of the contenders, but to further solidify that status, they'll need to continue taking care of business at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Carolina 71, Davidson 67
01/23 10:18:54 ET
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