Game Recap: Wofford Hands Western Carolina First Southern Conference Loss

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Western Carolina was looking for their best start in Southern Conference history. Wofford was looking for a spark after back-to-back losses against Chattanooga. Trey Sumler and Karl Cochran went after it tonight in Spartanburg.

Final - 1.20.2014 1 2 Total
Western Carolina Catamounts 26 34 60
Wofford Terriers 33 38 71

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Western Carolina came into Monday night's game with a five game winning streak and the best record in the Southern Conference. Wofford came in with a 2-3 mark in the SoCon after falling to Chattanooga in back-to-back games due to a rare scheduling oddity for the Terriers. The Catamounts wanted to solidify their spot at the top, while Wofford was looking for a momentum shifting win before they hit the road for their next two games.

It was clear from the beginning that Wofford's head coach Mike Young was focused on stopping Western Carolina star Trey Sumler, who came into tonight averaging 18.8 points per game. To counter Sumler, Young put Karl Cochran on the high powered scorer, a strategy that worked quite well for most of the game.

With Sumler in-check, the Terriers took a 33-26 lead and surged in the second half to a 18 point lead with 14:13 left in the game.

The under twelve minute media timeout would be where Western Carolina would finally wake up and give the Terriers a game. Sumler would hit a jumper and also nail two three pointers to bring the Catamounts within 11 points with 9:18 left and force a Wofford timeout.

Western Carolina would continue to charge and a Mike Brown free throw would eventually being the Catamounts within two points with 5:32 on the clock.

Karl Cochran would wake up on both the offensive and defensive end when he not only nailed a big three to expand the Terriers lead, but also head Sumler in check down the stretch and limiting the sharpshooter to just one field goal in the final nine minutes of play.

Key free throws from Lee Skinner and Spencer Collins would ice the 71-60 win for the Terriers. Skinner finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double. Despite Skinner's performance, Cochran had to be the player of the game for the Terriers. Cochran finished the evening with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Sumler finished the night with 20 points for the Catamounts, shooting 7-for-14 from the floor.

Wofford now has the momentum they so desperately needed for a road trip to Georgia Southern and Furman. Western Carolina now drops below 6-0 Chattanooga and has a Thursday match up in Cullowhee against Davidson.

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