Western Carolina 82, UNCG 77 (OT)
Key Stat: Western Carolina 25 of 31 from the free throw line. It was a close game and the Catamounts shot 31 free throws, the Spartans 30. But Western Carolina made 25, nearly 81%, while the Spartans made just 20 for 67%. That five point spread was the difference in the game. The Catamounts did a phenomenal job from the free throw line.
Player of the Game: Brandon Boggs. Boggs scored 25 on 8 of 15 from the floor. He made 2 of 3 threes and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. He also collected six rebounds. Is there a chance that Boggs has passed Trey Sumler as the Catamounts best player? Not really, but it is much closer than anyone would have thought it would be early in the year.
What It All Means: The Catamounts moved one huge step closer to the bye. They are now up three games on UNCG with four to play for the final bye spot. That pretty much wraps it up. After all, the Catamounts own the tiebreaker over UNCG as well. So, the magic number for Western Carolina is one to clinch the bye. They are down one half game on Elon for the four seed, one game on Wofford for the three seed and two games on Chattanooga for the two seed. Their schedule down the stretch isn't bad, going to Appalachian State, hosting The Citadel and Chattanooga and going to Samford. A 4-0 stretch gives them a decent shot at the two seed and a good shot at getting the three seed. These four teams are all really fighting for the two and three seed, so this is important. The Spartans now find themselves in a critical time. Like I've been saying, the six seed is a lot better than the seven and the seven much better than the eight. With so little separating the six seed from the nine seed, the Spartans need wins in the worst way. With home games against Elon and Chattanooga and road games against Wofford and Davidson, the closing stretch is brutal. This is team that is OK, but has not come up with the breakthrough SoCon win yet. They are a dangerous team in Asheville, but need to start winning to make them most likely to come up with some wins there.