The men’s basketball team hosts 2-1 Western Carolina in a non-conference game on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum.
The Catamounts began their season with two wins over Wittenberg (77-55) and UNC Asheville (74-67). On Wednesday night, they lost at #18 Oregon 107-83 in a game they trailed by just two points at halftime. Western Carolina appears to be comfortable in high-scoring games, they they might have a bit of jet lag after traveling to Oregon for Wednesday’s game.
Trey Sumler (6-2, 175, r-Sr.) did not play in the first two games of the season. He is Western Carolina’s best player. He was Southern Conference Freshman of the Year three years ago, and now he’s one of the best players in the league. He scored 29 points against Oregon on Wednesday, and the Catamounts are a better team with him on the court.
Here’s a look at the entire starting lineup, as well as a key reserve…
G Trey Sumler (6-1, 175, r-Sr.): Sumler is one of the best scorers Tech will face this season. He has scored 1,468 career points, and he shoots the ball very well from the outside.
G James Sinclair (6-3, 180, Jr.): Sinclair is in his second season as a starter for Western Carolina. He’s averaging 15.7 points per game through the first three contests.
G Tom Tankelewicz (6-4, 180, r-Sr.): Tankelewicz is a transfer from Charleston Southern. He is averaging 13.3 points per game, and he’s shooting 50% from three-point range this season.
F Kenneth Hall (6-7, 210, Jr.): Hall starts, though he averages just 13.3 minutes per game.
F Tawaski King (6-8, 245, Sr.): King is a veteran post player who averaged 11.6 points per game last season. He has a chance to reach 1,000 points for his career.
G Brandon Boggs (6-5, 190, Sr.): Boggs is 30 points shy of reaching 1,000 points for his career. He can be an effective scorer off the bench. Now that Sumler is back, that will likely be Boggs’ role for the rest of the season.
As you can see, Western Carolina has a very experienced team. They won 14 games last year, and played #13 Illinois and #18 Georgetown relatively close. From an experience standpoint, they are very similar to the USC Upstate team that defeated the Hokies last Saturday.
Western Carolina is coached by Larry Hunter, who has posted 601 career wins, which includes a stint at non-Division I Wittenberg. He has coached Western Carolina since 2005. Before that he was an assistant at NC State under Herb Sendek. He was the head coach of Ohio from 1989 through 2001.