CULLOWHEE, North Carolina – West Carolina opens its quest for a Southern Conference men’s basketball crown Friday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. as the 10th-seeded Catamounts take on No. 7, in the first round of the 2022 Ingles Southern Conference tournament at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.
The Catamounts and Bears meet in the first round of the tournament, with the winner facing second-seeded Furman on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the third of four quarterfinal games on Saturday at 6 p.m. The winner of Saturday’s quarter-final meets the winner of #3 Samford and #6 UNCG in the semi-final on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
WCU supporters are invited to visit central catmount at Bold Rock Downtown in Asheville on Friday at 5:30 p.m. for a pre-game event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. You do not need to be a member of the Catamount Club to attend, although the Club asks anyone interested RSVP for spacing purposes.
Friday’s game and Saturday’s four quarter-final matches will be shown on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with the quarterfinal matches televised on select Nexstar affiliates, including WYCW in the Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg TV market. Friday’s game will also air on the Catamount Sports Network with pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m., including live audio streaming online at CatamountSports.com and locally in Jackson County on 105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC The River.
WCU finished the regular season with an 11-20 overall record and a 5-13 SoCon rating, winning two of the final three games of the season, including an 82-73 win over VMI in the season finale. regular last Saturday. Marlow Gilmore collected his first career double-double with a career-high 25 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, hitting double-digits for the fourth straight game for the WCU. Cam Bacote also recorded a career night with 23 points. Nicholas Robinson (12 points) and Marvin Award (11 points) also finished in double digits.
Wednesday, Robinson and freshman guard Marcus Banks received All-SoCon playoff honors from the league office. Robinson earned third-team all-conference plaudits from league coaches after leading the WCU in both scoring (14.8 ppg, 10th SoCon) and rebounding (7.1 rpg, 5th SoCon). Banks was selected to the freshman team by league coaches and the SoCon Sports Media Association (SCSMA) after averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 30 games played.
Mercer earned the seventh seed after finishing the regular season with a 15-16 overall record and an 8-10 record in the league. The Bears dropped out of the regular season finale at Wofford 74-67 and head into the tournament after losing three straight. Senior forward Felipse Haase earned Coaches and Media Second Team All-SoCon honors while guard Jordan Jones earned Team SoCon All-Freshman honors.
The teams split regular season matchups with Mercer earning a 72-64 victory in Macon, Ga., on Jan. 22. The Bears closed the game on a 14-4 run to block a second-half WCU run to secure the win. The Catamounts then protected their home court, claiming a 69-65 victory on February 19 as Vonterius Woolbright scored the go-ahead basket with 49 seconds left and the Catamount defense locked in to secure the win.
Friday’s game marks only the second SoCon tournament game between the teams all-time, both of which came in the past three years as WCU cruised to a 70-56 victory in the 2020 quarterfinals.
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