CULLOWHEE, N.C. - UNC Greensboro senior forward Ben Stywall recorded his seventh double-double of the season, but Western Carolina slowly pulled away in the second half for a 79-69 win over the Spartans in Southern Conference men's basketball action Thursday night at the Ramsey Center.
UNCG had just two field goals in a 10-minute span of the second half as Western Carolina slowly pulled away to raise its record to 13-3 overall, 3-1 in SoCon play. The Spartans dropped to 3-14 overall, 2-4 in SoCon action.
Jake Robinson had 19 points and five rebounds to lead Western Carolina. He was 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, in 24 minutes of action. He was one of four Catamounts in double figures. Kendall Russell and Brigham Waginger each added 14 points and Brandon Giles had 11.
Stywall, a Charlotte, N.C. native who topped 1,000 points for his career on Monday, finished with a season-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, recording his fourth double-double in six SoCon games this season. The other three came against ACC teams. His seven double-doubles this season leads the conference.
Brandon Evans added 17 points and Kyle Randall chipped in 14 points for the Spartans.
With both teams shooting the ball well in the opening half, neither team got much separation in a well-played first half. Western Carolina opened up an early five-point lead, but eight straight points by Evans erased that deficit and gave the Spartans their first lead of the night.
The Catamounts held the Spartans to just one field goal over the final four minutes, but managed just three buckets themselves in that time and took a 35-31 lead into the intermission.
Western Carolina opened up a nine-point lead early in the second half with an 8-1 spurt. Stywall ended that run with a conventional three-point play, however. That began a 7-0 run for the Spartans that closed the gap back to 43-41 with a little over 13 minutes to play.
The Catamounts held UNCG to just one field goal over the next six minutes to gradually open the lead back to nine, 57-48. A Waginger three-pointer made it a nine-point lead and UNCG never got the margin less than seven after that.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the second half. UNCG was 11-for-28 in the second half (39 percent), while Western Carolina was 9-for-25 (36 percent). But the Catamounts were 5-of-8 behind the arc in the second half, while UNCG was just 1-of-8.
The Spartans complete their three-game road swing on Saturday when they visit Appalachian State. Game time is set for 3 p.m.
WESTERN CAROLINA 79, UNCG 69
UNCG (3-14, 2-4 SoCon)
Ben Stywall 8-13 8-11 24; Brandon Evans 6-13 4-4 17; Kyle Randall 5-12 3-4 14; Korey Van Dussen 1-3 2-2 5; Kendall Toney 2-2 0-0 5; Mikko Koivisto 0-5 2-2 2; Pete Brown 1-3 0-0 2; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Brian Cole 0-2 0-2 0; Montel Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 19-25 69.
WESTERN CAROLINA (13-3, 3-1 SoCon)
Jake Robinson 6-8 4-4 19; Kendall Russell 3-4 8-8 14; Brigham Waginger 5-9 0-0 14; Brandon Giles 4-12 2-2 11; Richie Gordon 3-9 2-2 8; Harouna Mutombo 2-8 3-5 7; Mike Williams 1-4 3-5 5; Adrian Gailliard 0-1 1-2 1; Blake Gallagher 0-0 0-0 0; Keaton Cole 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 23-28 79.
Halftime: Western Carolina 35-31. 3-point goals--UNCG 4-14 (Brandon Evans 1-4; Kendall Toney 1-1; Korey Van Dussen 1-2; Kyle Randall 1-3; Mikko Koivisto 0-3; Ben Stywall 0-1), Western Carolina 8-17 (Brigham Waginger 4-7; Jake Robinson 3-4; Brandon Giles 1-3; Harouna Mutombo 0-2; Mike Williams 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-Richie Gordon. Rebounds--UNCG 36 (Ben Stywall 14), Western Carolina 31 (Brandon Giles 8). Assists--UNCG 6 (Brandon Evans 2; Ben Stywall 2), Western Carolina 12 (Brigham Waginger 3; Harouna Mutombo 3). Total fouls--UNCG 22, Western Carolina 20. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-None. A-3027
- UNCG -