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Western Carolina Shoots Past Furman, 72-53

Kris Acox
Kris Acox

Cullowhee, N.C. -- James Sinclair poured in a game-high 20 points, including 14 in the first half, and Western Carolina shot 68% from the field in the first half en route to a 72-53 victory over Furman in Southern Conference men's basketball on Monday night at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C.

The victory upped the Catamounts to 7-8 overall and 2-1 in the SoCon, while Furman slipped to 3-10 overall and 1-2 in the league.

Western Carolina forced Furman into five turnovers in the opening eight minutes to claim a 17-7 lead.  The Paladins trimmed the margin to 23-17 before the Catamounts used a 20-8 spurt over the final nine minutes of the period to carry a 43-25 lead into intermission.

The Catamounts continued their hot shooting in the second half as Sinclair buried a pair of three-pointers to propel Western Carolina to an 18-5 run over the opening 7:39 of the second half that staked the home team to a 61-30 advantage on Mike Brown's jumper with 12:21 left.

After hitting 17-of- 25 shots in the first half, Western Carolina finished the game at 57.4% from the field, including 8-for-15 from three-point range.  The Catamounts scored 17 points off 11 Furman turnovers and managed a 31-23 edge on the glass.

Sinclair hit 8-of-10 shots to pace the Catamounts with 20 points, while point guard Rhett Harrelson connected on 6-of-7 shots to tally 16 points.  Brown and Torrion Brummitt added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Freshman Devin Sibley scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting to lead three Paladins in double figures.  Sophomore Kris Acox tallied 11 points and six rebounds and freshman Geoff Beans added 11 points.

Furman shot 34.1% from the floor and made just 5-of-18 three-point attempts.

The Paladins return home to host SoCon rival UNCG on Thursday night at 7 p.m. before entertaining league newcomer VMI on Saturday at 4 p.m.  Both games will feature the IT Ticket with all fans in attendance receiving free and unlimited trips to the concession stand for hot dogs, nachos, sodas and more.

Both games will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network and can be heard on the Furman IMG Sports Network on flagship station WGOG 96.3 FM and Fox Sports 1440 AM with play-by-play voice Dan Scott and color commentator Ron Smith.  The audio broadcast will also be available by logging onto TuneIn.com.  Links for the broadcast and live statistics will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information