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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Belk Arena (5,223) -- Davidson, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: WCU 4-4, Davidson 7-1. Away Record: WCU 3-9, Davidson 6-4. Neutral Record: WCU 1-1, Davidson 2-2. Conference Record: WCU 5-5, Davidson 10-1. Series Record: Davidson leads, 39-20.
GAME NOTES: The Davidson Wildcats look to pad their lead in the Southern Conference South Division when they host the Western Carolina Catamounts at Belk Arena.
Davidson has won six in a row to move to 10-1 in league play and entered the week with a two-game lead over second-place College of Charleston. The Wildcats are coming off a 68-57 triumph at Wofford this past Saturday. Tonight's contest is the first of two straight home games for the Wildcats, who are 7-1 at Belk Arena this season.
On the other side of the floor, Western Carolina has fallen on hard times with losses in five of its last six outings. The Catamounts began a three-game road trip over the weekend with a 74-65 setback to Appalachian State. They'll wrap up the trip at Georgia Southern on Saturday.
Davidson has won each of the last three head-to-head meetings, including a 79-74 road win over WCU on Jan. 24. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 39-20.
The Catamounts never led against ASU, as they dug themselves a 14-point deficit late in the first half and trailed, 41-29, at the break. They were unable to make up much ground in the second stanza, as the Mountaineers went on to shoot 53 percent for the game, including a 7-of-14 effort from beyond the arc. Trey Sumler paced WCU with 21 points, although he also committed eight of the team's 17 turnovers. James Sinclair was next in line with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.
On the season, Sumler leads the team with 17.8 ppg, while Tawaski King (11.1 ppg) and Tom Tankelewicz (10.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Sumler is a 38-percent shooter from the arc as well as an 82-percent free-throw shooter, and he also averages 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals. However, he is also turning the ball over nearly four times per game (3.7).
Leading the way for Davidson are reigning SoCon Players of the Year De'Mon Brooks (14.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jake Cohen (13.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg). That duo has handled much of the grunt work in the paint, although the Wildcats are also dangerous from outside, as evidenced by their combined 37-percent accuracy from beyond the arc. They also lead the nation in team free-throw percentage (.807). Davidson has really stepped things up in conference play, as the squad is averaging nearly eight 3-pointers a game and is +14.5 in scoring margin. The Cats are also +5.9 in rebounding margin and have held league foes to 40.2- percent shooting from the floor.
Last Saturday, Wofford became the third straight opponent that Davidson held below 60 points. Four players finished in double figures for the Wildcats, who made 24-of-27 free throws for the game.
These teams have been drifting in opposite directions over the last month, and that trend is unlikely to come to an end here on Davidson's home floor. Look for the Wildcats to control this one from start to finish.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Davidson 72, Western Carolina 59
02/07 10:39:40 ET
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