ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team will try to a snap a six-game losing streak on Saturday when the Bulldogs host Montreat College at Kimmel Arena starting at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday's game will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at around 4:15 p.m. The game can be seen via video-streaming under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Fans coming to the game on Saturday will receive a free royal blue pom-pom. Saturday home games have been designated as Signature Saturday and starting with the Montreat game, the Bulldogs will sign autographs following the game.
Asheville (1-6) has been off since Nov. 29 when the Bulldogs lost at home to USC Upstate 73-71. The Blue & White led by 16 early in the second half and by three points in the final minute of play before the Spartans scored four points in the final seven seconds to steal a victory.
The men of Eddie Biedenbach have been busy in exams this week and are anxious to play a game after the tough loss to USC Upstate. Five of Asheville's six losses have been by eight points or less with the last two losses being by just two points each.
"We've got to find ways to start winning these close games, instead of losing them," stated Biedenbach. "We'll be glad to play a game tomorrow against Montreat. I'm anxious to see how our guys respond."
Montreat enters Saturday's game with a 3-8 record after winning at Toccoa Falls Thursday night, 71-62. Saturday's contest does not count against the Cavaliers overall record as this is an exhibition game for Montreat.
The Bulldogs defeated the Cavaliers handily last season, 109-61. Biedenbach does not expect a game like that on Saturday.
"Montreat is much improved from last year, and we're not quite as good," said Biedenbach. "We know they'll be well-coached and have already played every Division I exhibition games this season. They'll be ready to play, and we better be, too.
This marks the 21st straight year that Montreat and UNC Asheville have squared off on the hardwood in either a regular-season contest or exhibition game. Counting exhibition contests, the Bulldogs lead the series 18-2 and have won the past six meetings. Montreat's last win in the series came in an exhibition game in the 2005-06 season when the Cavaliers hit a last-second three-pointer to win 61-58.
Jeremy Atkinson leads Asheville in scoring (18.4) and rebounding (8.0) this season. He has scored in double figures in every game the Bulldogs have played this year.
Junior guard Trent Meyer is starting for the first time in his career this season and he's shown that he's ready to play. Trent has scored 20 or more points in two of the last three games, including a career-best 23 points vs. USC Upstate last week and 20 points vs. Providence (11-18). He leads the team in assists with 26 and three-pointers made with 12. He's one of the league's best free throw shooters at .864 (19-of-22). Trent was 6-of-6 vs. Tennessee (11-15) and 7-of-7 vs. USC Upstate (11-29).
Asheville is 16-3 all-time at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs may be 1-6 on the season but have been in every game they've played this season. Asheville's worst loss of the year was an 82-63 defeat to Akron (11-16) in the second round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off but only trailed 37-34 at halftime. In the other five losses, the Bulldogs have lost by an average margin of just 4.8 points per game. The last two defeats to N.C. State and USC Upstate have been by just two points each. In each game, Asheville led at every media timeout before falling in the final minutes.
Today's game is the second of a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs. Asheville finishes its pre-Christmas home schedule against Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday, Dec. 13. The Bulldogs will then embark on a pretty tough three-game road trip before Christmas. Asheville is at #3 Ohio State on Dec. 15 at Noon, at Colonial Conference power Northeastern on Dec. 18 at Noon and then finishes up with Big East foe St. John's in Queens on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Jeremy Atkinson is all over the Big South leader-board. He's fourth in the league in scoring (18.4) and rebounding (8.0), sixth in field goal percentage (.528), second in free throw percentage (.865) and third in steals (2.49).