Greenville, S.C. – Trey Sumler poured in a game-high 24 points and Tom Tankelewicz scored all 17 of his points in the second half as Western Carolina topped Furman, 79-65, in the Southern Conference men's basketball opener for both schools Wednesday night on YP.com Court at Timmons Arena.
Western Carolina, with its second straight win, improved to 3-4 overall and 1-0 in the SoCon. Furman dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league play.
With Furman trailing just 39-38 following a Charlie Reddick jumper with 13 minutes to play, Western Carolina fashioned a decisive 20-6 run on the strength of 14 straight points from Tankelewicz. Sumler started the spurt with a jumper followed by the first of four Tankelewicz treys in a two minute stretch. After a three-point play by the Paladins' Kendrec Ferrara, Tankelewicz drained a three-pointer before answering Stephen Croone's driving layup with another trey. Reddick converted on 1-of-2 trips to the line for Furman, but Tankelewicz responded with a long three and a put back off of an offensive rebound on Western Carolina's next possession to put the Catamounts in front 55-44 with 9:46 to play.
Western Carolina extended its advantage to as many as 15 points before the Paladins used a 11-2 run to trim the deficit to 63-57 on Ferrara's basket with 5:13 remaining. Sumler answered with a three-pointer, followed by a Preston Ross slam and Tankelewicz three, to put the game out of reach at 71-59 with 2:17 left.
The Catamounts, 48.3% from the field on the night, connected on 58% of their field goal attempts in the second half to build on their 27-21 halftime lead and defeat the Paladins in Timmons Arena for just the third time in 10 tries. Sumler, who drained all eight of his free throws in the final 1:09, added seven rebounds and seven assists to go with his game-high 24 points.
Tankelewicz connected on 6-of-9 shots -- 6-of-8 in the second half -- to tally 17 points while Josh Mendenhall and Tawaski King added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Western Carolina outscored Furman 34-28 in the paint, 18-2 in transition and compiled a 17-4 advantage on points off of turnovers.
Senior Colin Reddick led Furman with 15 points and nine rebounds while swatting three shots on the night. Croone totaled 12 points, including a 6-for-6 effort at the foul line, and Bobby Austin and Ferrara added 10 apiece.
Furman shot just 36.2% from the field and made good on only 2-of-16 three-point attempts. The Paladins managed a 40-32 edge on the boards.
The Loyola Ramblers will entertain Furman in a 3 p.m. ET contest on Saturday in Chicago, Ill. The game will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
All Furman men's basketball games during the 2012-13 season will be aired live on 103.3 WOLT-FM and 96.3 WGOG-FM. Each game will also be streamed live thru Stretch Audio at www.FurmanPaladins.com. Dan Scott will provide play-by-play with former Paladin guard Ron Smith handling color commentator duties.
Fans can follow live statistics of the game by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com.