Spartans fall short at Western Carolina, 73-69
CULLOWHEE, N.C.—UNCG placed four players in double-figures and limited Western Carolina to 39 percent shooting but the Spartans couldn't overcome 10 second-half turnovers in suffering a 73-69 Southern Conference loss to the Catamounts, Saturday at Ramsey Center.
UNCG (2-6 overall, 0-2 SoCon) played perhaps its most complete game of the season. But a flurry of turnovers early in the second half was the difference.
After a layup by Western's Tawaski King trimmed UNCG's lead to 42-38, the Spartans turned it over on four straight possessions, allowing the Catamounts (5-4, 2-0) to get back in the game. Harouna Mutumbo, who scored a game-high 18 points, capped a 7-0 run with a layup to give WCU a 43-42 lead with 16:15 left.
The lead changed hands twice more before the Catamounts took the lead for good when a Brandon Boggs jumper made it 45-44 with 14:10 left in the game.
Western Carolina maintained a 3-6 point advantage for much of the game's remainder, taking as much as a nine-point lead when a three-point play by Mutumbo made it 66-57 with 4:50 remaining. But the Spartans wouldn't go away.
Trailing 70-62, Aaron Brackett completed a three-point play with 1:34 left to pull the Spartans within 70-65. A Brackett jumper made it 70-67 with 49 seconds left, but Kenny Hall converted a layup 33 seconds later for a 72-67 advantage.
A dunk by Trevis Simpson pulled UNCG to within 72-69, but Simpson missed the subsequent free throw and Hall made one-of-two freebies on the other end for the final margin.
The Spartans led by as many as seven points in the second half and owned a 36-34 lead at halftime.
Brackett recorded his fourth career double-double, finishing with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Drew Parker scored a career-high 14 points, while Derrell Armstrong added 13 and Simpson chipped in with 12.
The Spartans shot 44 percent from the field, including a 7-of-18 effort from three-point range. UNCG was 14-of-20 from the free throw line.
WCU's field-goal percentage was a season-low for an opponent but the Catamounts were 10-for-24 from three-point range. Western out-rebounded UNCG, 40-37.
The Spartans continue SoCon play when they host Elon, 7 p.m., Monday at Greensboro Coliseum.