CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina placed four players in double figures as the Catamounts rolled to an 86-67 victory over UNC Asheville Wednesday night at the Ramsey Center.
WCU (7-6) built a 40-25 halftime lead and held off several Asheville comebacks in the second half as the Bulldogs (6-6) lost for the second straight game.
Matt Dickey led Asheville (6-6) with a season-high 23 points. Jeremy Atkinson added 16 points and six rebounds. Chris Stephenson enjoyed a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Catamounts were led by Harouna Mutombo's 18 points and 13 rebounds. Brandon Boggs finished with 17 points, 14 in the opening half.
"We didn't play very well tonight," commented Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We made some runs in the second half, but you can't expect to come back against a good team like Western Carolina when you give them a 15-point lead.
"Our guys didn't do a good job guarding the three-point line and Western made us pay for it," added Biedenbach. "We're going to have to play better than we did tonight."
Western Carolina shot .544 (31-of-57) from the field for the game and .529 (9-of-17) from beyond the arc.
Asheville shot just .386 (22-of-57) from the field and a dismal .188 (3-of-16) from long distance.
Senior guard J.P. Primm was held to a season-low four points as he went just 2-of-11 from the field. He was credited with one assist and now has 516 for his career. Primm needs just five to become the school's all-time leader.
WCU went on a 21-4 run midway through the opening half to a 38-21 lead. Boggs hit three treys in the run. The Cats led 40-25 at halftime.
In the second half, Asheville closed to eight on three separate occasions but couldn't get any closer as WCU used a late 7-0 run to seal the victory.
"We had more energy in the second half and played much better but you can't spot a team like Western Carolina a 15-point lead," said Biedenbach. "Our guys need to play better. We haven't played well in the past few games and it's cost us the past two losses."
Asheville plays next at Big South Conference rival Winthrop Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m.
The Bulldogs are 1-3 on the road this year.
Asheville did not have the services of forwards Jaron Lane and Jon Nwannunu Wednesday night. Lane is out due to academics, while Nwannunu is out because of a family emergency.
Matt Dickey now has 1,427 career points. He needs just three points to move past Tony Bumphus (1,429) into ninth place on Asheville's career scoring list.
Jeremy Atkinson has scored in double figures in four straight games and five of the last six contests.
Chris Stephenson's double-double (15 points & 13 rebounds) was the first double-double of the season for the Bulldogs. It was the second double-double of his career.
Jeremy Harn and Keith Hornsby started for the Bulldogs. It was the first start of the season for both players. J.P. Primm and Chris Stephenson did not start for the first time this year due to getting back late from Christmas break.