By: Steven Grandy
Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina returns to action on Wednesday as the Catamounts journey to Cincinnati to face Xavier at 6:30 p.m. The Catamounts and Musketeers battle in front of a national television audience on FS1 with Alex Faust and Tim Miles calling the action.
The contest is a part of the expanded Skip Prosser Classic, which began during the 2009-10 season between Xavier and Wake Forest, two schools that Skip Prosser served as head coach. Mark Prosser, Skip’s son, is in his second season as head coach of the Catamounts.
Western Carolina is 7-2 after a thrilling 78-77 come-from-behind victory over UNC Asheville at the Ramsey Center on Dec. 7. Mason Faulkner hit the go-ahead free throw with 4.3 seconds left as the Catamounts erased a five-point deficit over the last 1:40 for their fifth straight win.
Carlos Dotson earned his first career Southern Conference Player of the Week award on Dec. 10 after the Riverdale, Md., native averaged 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds with a pair of double-doubles in wins over Chattanooga and UNCA.
Xavier is 9-2 after an 80-78 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon, dropping the Musketeers from the AP Top 25 after entering last week at No. 23. Paul Scruggs scored a career-high 30 points in the loss and is second on the team with an average of 15.8 points per game. Naji Marshall is the leading scorer with 16.9 points per game. Tyrique Jones is averaging nearly a double-double per game with 13.6 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Wednesday is the third all-time meeting between the schools and first since a 95-61 Xavier win on Dec. 2, 2006 in Cincinnati. WCU won the initial meeting 76-72 as part of the Gold Rush Classic on a neutral court in New Orleans on Dec. 31, 1988.
WCU concludes its pre-Christmas schedule on Saturday Dec. 21, traveling to Tennessee Tech for a 5 p.m. ET/4 pm CT tip-off. That game will be streamed on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with audio coverage from the Catamount Sports Network.