The Mocs hit the road one final time in an absolutely critical game against the Western Carolina Catamounts. If the Mocs win and Elon wins against Wofford, the Mocs will have clinched a two or three seed. If Western Carolina wins, they can not clinch anything, but it will put them in good position to get a two or three seed possibly. This is a huge moment for the Mocs and Catamounts and we'll have to see how they respond to the pressure.
These two teams hooked up just two weeks ago. The Mocs won 83-73 in Chattanooga. On that night, the Mocs outrebounded the Catamounts relatively easily. Western Carolina shot 38.2% from the floor and 16% from three point range. Trey Sumler, Brandon Boggs and James Sinclair shot a combined 2 of 19 from three point range. Boggs did make 8 of 15 from the floor and scored 21 points. Tawaski King scored eight points and had six rebounds. Z Mason scored 23 points and had 8 rebounds, while Gee McGhee had one of his best games of his career. McGhee scored 16 points with 15 rebounds, along with five assists. The Mocs also made 71.4% of their free throws that night.
What has to change in this one?
The Catamounts have a propensity for committing fouls and the Mocs get to the free throw line a lot. So that will be a major key for the Mocs- just like it was the first time around. If the Mocs are to win this game, they need to shoot at least nine more free throws like they did in their first meeting.
For Western Carolina, the Catamounts have to shoot the ball at a better clip. The Mocs do not have a particularly good defense and have been getting pounded defensively in the two games since the Western Carolina game. Sumler, Boggs and Sinclair will absolutely need to shoot the ball at a higher percentage and lead this team. King will need to be a bigger presence in the paint.
Then again, there is something about Western Carolina's style that seemed to match up well for the Mocs the first time around. The Mocs seemed to be able to get out and run and seemed to wear out the Catamounts a bit. The Catamounts did not seem to have someone who could match up with McGhee. Mason and King's match-up will also be one of the most critical in the game.
It should be an interesting showdown as both teams need this one desperately. The game will be available on ESPN3 and should be entertaining.
The Catamounts are a very good basketball team at home. They are 11-1 at home this year. However, the Mocs went up to Cullowhee and upset the Catamounts in the second to last game of the year a season ago. So they do know how to win up there. The Mocs have the ability to go into the Ramsey Center and come up the upset. But it's impossible to pick the Mocs, who couldn't win in Greensboro, to turn around and beat Western on Thursday at this point. Every game is different. But the Catamounts will shoot better at home and come up with a very important win. Catamounts 77, Mocs 73.