DAYTON, Ohio – Junior Carlos Dotson scored a team-leading 17 points in his Catamount debut, but Western Carolina was unable to overcome a slow start in a 96-73 loss to Wright State on Wednesday night at the Wright State University Nutter Center.
Wright State is 1-0 while Western Carolina drops to 0-1.
Dotson tallied 15 of his 17 points in the second half. Matt Halvorsen finished with 16 points, followed by D.J. Myers with 11 points, which is the most by a Catamount freshman in his debut since Elijah Pughsley scored 18 points against Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 2015. Classmate Kameron Gibson finished with 10 points. Marc Gosselin grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Bill Wampler led Wright State with 26 points, followed by Loudon Love with 17, Skyelar Potter with 16 and Malachi Smith with 10. Love had a team-best seven rebounds while Cole Gentry dished out a game-high nine assists.
Wright State opened the game on a 12-0 run before a pair of Halvorsen free throws got the Catamounts on the board at the 16:19 mark. Following a Wampler 3-pointer that gave the hosts a 33-9 lead at the 8:08 mark, Western Carolina used a Halvorsen 3-pointer and layup as well as a Thomas layup to make the score 39-16 with 5:38 to play. Consecutive 3-pointers by Onno Steger and Gibson sent Western Carolina into halftime trailing 52-26.
A dunk by Myers opened the second-half scoring for the Catamounts just over a minute into the frame. After the Raiders took their largest lead of the game, 73-40, Cottrell hit 3-pointers on consecutive Catamount possessions to make the score 79-49 with just under eight minutes to play. Western Carolina capitalized on a technical foul assessed to the Raiders as Dotson hit two free throws followed by a Halvorsen 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to make the score 79-54 with 7:12 left. A Dotson layup at the 3:46 mark brought the Catamounts within 19, 85-66, but WCU would get no closer.
Western Carolina hosts College of Charleston on Saturday in its home opener at noon. The contest is the front half of a doubleheader with the Catamount football team against Wofford at 3:30 p.m. Purchasing or presenting a ticket to Saturday’s football game will grant the bearer free admission to the basketball home opener.
News and Notes
• Western Carolina went with Halvorsen, Dotson, Myers, Gibson and Steger as its starting lineup for the season opener.
• The Catamounts are now 37-34 in season openers.
• WCU outscored Wright State 47-44 in the second half.
• Halvorsen finished in double figures in scoring for the 15th time in his career.
• Gosselin finished in double figures in rebounds for the 15th time in his career.
• Gibson played a game-high 33 minutes.
• Wright State improved to 3-0 all-time against Western Carolina.