Fox News - Fair & Balanced


Western Carolina (10-16) at Furman (12-13)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 4:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Timmons Arena (5,100) -- Greenville, South Carolina. Television: Local. Home Record: WCU 6-4, Furman 7-5. Away Record: WCU 3-11, Furman 5-8. Neutral Record: WCU 1-1, Furman 0-0. Conference Record: WCU 4-9, Furman 6-8. Series Record: Furman leads, 36-25.

GAME NOTES: Struggling Southern Conference foes meet on the hardwood in Greenville this afternoon, as the Furman Paladins are set to host the Catamounts of Western Carolina at Timmons Arena.

It's been an especially rough month and a half for Western Carolina, which has suffered setbacks in six of the last eight outings, including two straight. A hard-fought but tough 62-58 verdict at the College of Charleston on Thursday evening dropped the Catamounts to just 10-16 overall on the year and 4-9 in conference action.

As for Furman, the Paladins have suffered back-to-back setbacks and have dropped three of their last five overall, including a 79-69 loss to Appalachian State on Thursday. The loss dropped Furman under .500 to 12-13 overall this season, and left the club with an underwhelming 6-8 mark to its SoCon slate.

Furman owns a 36-25 lead over WCU in the all-time series between the two programs.

WCU kept the College of Charleston in line to the tune of 27.1 percent from the floor, but the Catamounts still ended up with a loss to show for their efforts thanks to their own shooting woes. WCU hit only 34.8 percent of their attempts from the field, which included a 6-of-20 performance from beyond the arc. Brandon Boggs scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the way for the Catamounts, while Keaton Cole and Trey Sumler notched 15 and 11 points, respectively. Any success the Catamounts have had this season can be attributed to sound defensive efforts, as the squad has yielded just 67.8 points per game to the opposition on a 39.8 percent shooting clip. WCU has forced a whopping 408 turnovers out of its adversaries through 26 contests as well, but have been beaten to the boards by a modest 36.0 - 35.3 rpg edge. The Catamounts offensive efforts have accounted for 69.4 ppg, a respectable tally, but the club is shooting just 41.6 percent as a team on the year. Still, the Catamounts own four players with a double-digit scoring average, with Sumler and Harouna Mutombo leading the way with 12.7 ppg apiece. Cole checks in at 11.8 ppg, while Boggs rounds everything out with a solid 10.7 ppg contribution.

The Paladins made good on just 40.0 percent of their attempts from the field during the 10-point loss to ASU, a mark that included just 6-of-20 from long range. The Paladins did manage to hit 19-of-26 at the foul line during the meeting, but were also guilty of a game-high 11 giveaways as well. Brandon Sebirumbi scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds to pace Furman, while Bobby Austin chipped in 10 points in a losing effort. The Paladins got little help from their reserves during the contest, as the ASU bench outscored Furman's pine by a decisive 37-22 margin. Furman nets an underwhelming 65.2 ppg this season, thanks in large part to a mediocre 41.2 team shooting percentage. The Paladins have struggled from long range (34.8 percent), but have made the most of their opportunities at the foul line (73.9 percent). At the other end of the court, the opposition has tallied just 65.6 ppg via a 43.3 percent shooting pace, but the Paladins have forced 13.0 turnovers per contest compared to 14.2 of their own miscues. Sebirumbi leads Furman in scoring up to this point with an 11.2 ppg tally, and is joined in double figures by Charlie Reddick and his 10.1 ppg.

This figures to be a bit of a shootout, so go with the Catamounts to come away with the win. Furman lacks the firepower to compete for an entire contest with WCU in such a meeting. Still, the Paladins play good enough defense to keep things close.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Carolina 72, Furman 68

02/11 10:49:38 ET