BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University men's basketball opens Southern Conference action at archrival Western Carolina on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Ramsey Center.
The Mountaineers (1-6, 0-0 SoCon) are looking to begin the conference slate with a win for the 22nd time in 42 SoCon openers while the Catamounts (3-6, 1-0) look to remain perfect in conference play.
Both squads are coming off losses to nationally-ranked foes. The Apps fell to then No. 16/15 Missouri on Saturday while WCU dropped a 72-64 decision at No. 13/14 Illinois on Tuesday.
SCOUTING THE CATAMOUNTS
• Western Carolina enters Saturday’s matchup after a pair of narrow, non-conference losses at Eastern Kentucky (72-70) and No. 13/14 Illinois (72-64).
• The Catamounts, who trailed by 10 points at halftime against the Illini, rallied to tie the contest at 54-54 with just under six minutes to go, but Illinois reeled off a 10-0 run to jump in front in the closing moments.
• WCU also suffered a tough defeat at EKU on Saturday. The Catamounts could not hold a 43-32 halftime lead as the Hilltoppers shot a blistering 51.7 percent in the second half to come all the way back.
• Western has defeated Mars Hill, Howard and Furman this season.
• In its SoCon opener, WCU took down Furman by a 79-65 final on Nov. 28 as Trey Sumler led the Catamounts with 24 points.
• Western Carolina and Appalachian should provide an entertaining contest as the teams rank No. 3 and 4, respectively, in scoring offense in the SoCon.
• The Catamounts have been dangerous on the offensive side of the ball, where they average 44.4 percent from the floor, the second-best mark in the conference.
• Sumler paces WCU and ranks fourth in the SoCon in scoring at 16.6 points per game.
• Appalachian State has faced Western Carolina more than any other team in school history.
• The first meeting between the Mountaineers and Catamounts took place during the 1927-28 season and, with the exception of three seasons (1932-33, ‘33-34 and ‘44-45), the squads have met every year since.
• Appalachian holds an edge in every aspect of the series. The Mountaineers lead 111-66 overall, 59-22 at home, 41-40 on the road and 11-4 at neutral sites.
• The Apps also hold claim to the largest winning streak in the series, a 14-game string of victories from 1987-93.
• Western’s longest winning streak in the series is six games from 1981-83.
• The Mountaineers have lost two-straight road contests in the series.
• The Catamounts notched an 83-75 victory in the regular-season finale last season when the teams met in Cullowhee.
• Since joining the Southern Conference in 1971-72, App State has won 21 of its 41 league openers, including 11 of the last 17.
• The Mountaineers are 9-14 in SoCon openers played on the road and are 5-5 in their last 10 conference openers played on the road.
• Appalachian has not opened SoCon play against Western Carolina since Dec. 5, 1979 when it grabbed an 80-69 victory.
• Saturday’s contest marks just the second time that the Apps will face the Catamounts in a SoCon opener.
• The Apps close out a four-game road swing with a pair of non-conference contests ats UMKC (Dec. 16) and South Carolina (Dec. 19).
• Appalachian closes out 2012 and the season’s non-conference slate with back-to-back home games against Presbyterian (Dec. 22) and Milligan (Dec. 30).