Men’s basketball off to fast start

Harouna Mutombo helped WCU open the season with a 65-41 win over St. Catharine College.

Harouna Mutombo (right) has helped the WCU’s men’s basketball team start the season with a 10-1 record.

The Catamounts are gearing up for their next big challenge – at ACC opponent Clemson – after knocking off the Big East’s Louisville.

Following three wins last week, including road victories over Bradley and Louisville and a home triumph over Campbell, the Western Carolina Catamount men’s basketball team moved to eighth in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll released Dec. 14.

The Catamounts have the best winning percentage among teams inside the top 12 of the poll.

Additionally, the Catamounts also received votes in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll (47th) and Associated Press Top 25 polls (51st) that were released on Monday afternoon.

Western Carolina (10-1) earned road wins over Bradley, which boasted an 81.7 winning percentage against non-conference foes at Carver Arena, and at Louisville, which has an 83.1-percent win rate in 54 seasons in Freedom Hall, last week. Hailing from perennial college basketball power conference the Big East, the Cardinals were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament a year ago and advanced to the Elite Eight.

With its 91-83 victory over Louisville (which has been ranked as high as 16th this season), Western Carolina moved into double-digit wins on the season, matching the program’s quickest march to double-figure victory tally in just 11 games. The Catamounts also got to 10 wins in just 11 tries during the 1963-64 season, as well as during the school’s best-ever start of 15-1 in 1958-59.

Western Carolina’s only loss this season was to No. 2 Texas on Nov. 18.

The Catamounts will put their nine-game winning streak on the line Tuesday, Dec. 22, as they travel to Littlejohn Coliseum to face the Clemson Tigers, which moved back into the national rankings this week following Saturday’s 29-point win over Furman. The Tigers (8-2) travel to East Carolina on Dec. 16 and host SoCon foe College of Charleston on Dec. 19 before facing WCU, which is idle until the Tuesday tip-off, as players are in final exams.

Fans wanting to attend the game at Littlejohn should contact the Clemson Athletics Ticket office online at www.ClemsonTigers.com, or by phone at 800-CLEMSON or (864) 656-2118.

For the latest news on the Catamount basketball team or any of WCU’s intercollegiate squads, visit www.catamountsports.com/