Samford (7-12) at Western Carolina (10-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ramsey Center (7,826) -- Cullowhee, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Samford 6-2, WCU 7-0. Away Record: Samford 1-10, WCU 2-7. Neutral Record: Samford 0-0, WCU 1-1. Conference Record: Samford 1-3, WCU 3-0. Series Record: Western Carolina leads, 8-3.
GAME NOTES: The Western Carolina Catamounts look to stay hot when they welcome the Samford Bulldogs to the Ramsey Center for a Southern Conference clash.
Samford also has something to build on after upending Furman last weekend, 57-55. Raijon Kelly scored the winning bucket with five seconds remaining on a 12-foot jumper to snap the team's three-game slide. However, that victory came on the Bulldogs' home floor, whereas they are just 1-10 on the road this season.
Meanwhile, Western Carolina boasts a perfect 7-0 home record. The Catamounts bring a four-game winning streak into this contest and are coming off last Saturday's 68-67 triumph at Georgia Southern. They could certainly use another win inside the Ramsey Center before hitting the road for three of their next four games.
WCU holds an 8-3 lead in the all-time series and has never lost to the Bulldogs in six meetings at the Ramsey Center, including last season's 56-54 overtime victory on Mike Brown's buzzer beater. These two teams will play each other again in the regular-season finale
In their three games prior to facing Furman last Saturday, the Bulldogs had given up an average of 80 points. But they were able to slow down the tempo against the Paladins and the result was a victory. Despite shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor and making only 16 field goals for the game, the Bulldogs consistently attacked the rim and capitalized by making 21-of-25 free throws. They also committed only five turnovers for the game. Tyler Hood led the way with 13 points, while Isaiah Williams (12.1 ppg) scored 11 and dished out six assists. Samford managed to win despite an off night from leading scorer Tim Williams (16.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg), who scored only four points on 1-of-5 shooting from the floor. Williams, a 60-percent shooter on the season, made up for it by grabbing eight rebounds, blocking five shots and notching a pair of steals.
Headlining Western Carolina's lineup is senior sharpshooter Trey Sumler, who is shooting a robust 41.7 percent from beyond the arc (35-of-84) and is averaging 19.2 ppg, which ranks third in the conference. Sumler does a little bit of everything, as he is also tallying 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds and is shooting 83 percent from the charity stripe. Brandon Boggs (10.4 ppg) and Tom Tankelewicz (10.3) have made steady contributions on the offensive end as well. The Catamounts had to earn their latest win against Georgia Southern in Statesboro, as the game featured 10 ties and five lead changes, and neither team led by more than six. James Sinclair led the way with a team-high 15 points, while Sumler and Boggs scored 13 apiece.
Both of these teams have been idle for a week, and in the Catamounts' case that might not be an ideal situation given their current win streak. However, they have yet to fall at home, and Samford is not likely to be the team to put an end to that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Carolina 74, Samford 67
01/18 10:25:53 ET