Western Carolina (2-4) at Furman (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 28, 7 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Timmons Arena (5,000) -- Greenville, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: WCU 1-0, Furman 2-2. Away Record: WCU 0-3, Furman 0-1. Neutral Record: WCU 1-1, Furman 0-0. Conference Record: WCU 0-0, Furman 0-0. Series Record: Furman leads, 37-25.
GAME NOTES: The Western Carolina Catamounts and Furman Paladins will open their respective Southern Conference schedules against one another tonight at Timmons Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
Western Carolina is coming off a 69-67 win over Howard last Wednesday to snap a three-game slide and finish third in the Mayan Division at the Cancun Challenge. The Catamounts won the game on Tom Tankelewicz's two free throws in the final second. However, they are 0-3 in true road games as tonight's contest kicks off a three-game road swing.
Furman dropped to 2-3 following Sunday night's lopsided 73-46 loss at Mercer, its first road contest of the season. The 27-point margin marked the largest loss for the Paladins since December of 2009. Each of their three losses this season has been followed up by a win the next time out, a trend the Paladins hope to continue tonight.
Furman leads the all-time series with Western Carolina, 37-25. The Paladins have taken seven of nine meetings at Timmons Arena and swept both matchups last season, including an 80-66 victory in Greenville to snap a five-game slide in the head-to-head series.
Western Carolina had a tough time with a winless Howard squad, coughing up a 10-point second-half lead as Bison guard Simuel Frazier tied the game on a layup with nine seconds to play in regulation. On the ensuing possession, Tankelewicz was fouled on a last-second shot attempt and sank both free throws to seal the win. A collective 16-of-20 effort at the charity stripe by the Catamounts helped make up for 20 turnovers. The Catamounts further helped their cause by knocking down 9-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc (.409). Tawaski King scored a team-high 19 points behind 8-of-10 shooting from the floor in the win, while Tankelewicz and Trey Sumler added 17 points apiece. Sumler, who was named to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team, is tallying a team-best 18.0 points and 4.3 assists per game to pace four WCU players averaging double figures.
The Paladins were led by a trio of freshmen on Sunday night. Making his first career start, Larry Wideman scored a team-high 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. Fellow freshman Stephen Croone chipped in with nine points and four assists, while another freshman, Kendrec Ferrara, scored seven points. However, their efforts went for naught as Mercer opened the second half with a 32-6 run to put the game in its back pocket. Furman committed a season-high 25 turnovers, as Mercer claimed a decisive 28-5 edge in points off turnovers for the game. Through five contests, Colin Reddick leads the Paladins with 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per tilt, while Bryant Irwin is averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Wideman has led the team in scoring twice and is averaging 9.6 ppg behind a SoCon-best 57.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc (8- of-14). Croone has stepped into the starting lineup replacing the injured Jordan Loyd and has averaged 8.4 points and 5.0 assists per contest.
WCU has hardly resembled the team that took league champion Davidson to triple-overtime in the SoCon Tournament title game last March. However, the Paladins appear to be in even worse shape coming off Sunday's uninspired effort against Mercer.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Carolina 63, Furman 58
11/28 10:34:32 ET