WCU, Mercer meet in SoCon quarters

No. 5 seed Western Carolina (18-11, 10-8) vs. No. 4 seed Mercer (17-14, 11-7)

Southern Conference Tourney Quarterfinals, Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, North Carolina; Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: A spot in the SoCon semifinals is up for grabs as Western Carolina and Mercer match up. The teams split the regular season series at one win apiece. The teams last met on Jan. 22, when Western Carolina made only 10 foul shots on 14 attempts while the Bears hit 18 of 20 en route to a six-point victory.

SUPER SENIORS: Western Carolina has relied heavily on its seniors. Mason Faulkner, Carlos Dotson, Onno Steger and Matt Halvorsen have collectively accounted for 69 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 68 percent of all Catamounts points over the team’s last five games.

KEY FACILITATOR: Faulkner has either made or assisted on 41 percent of all Western Carolina field goals over the last five games. The senior guard has accounted for 24 field goals and 35 assists in those games.

ASSIST DISTRIBUTION: The Catamounts have recently gotten baskets via assists more often than the Bears. Mercer has an assist on 46 of 80 field goals (57.5 percent) over its previous three outings while Western Carolina has assists on 62 of 93 field goals (66.7 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW: Western Carolina is ranked first among SoCon teams with an average of 79.3 points per game. The Catamounts have averaged 84.6 points per game over their last five games.