ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs begin play against North Division clubs of the Big South Conference when they face a tough High Point squad at Millis Center Saturday night.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on WWNC Radio (570-AM) starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. Fans can also watch the game for free on the Big South Digital Network under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (10-9, 4-1 BSC) moved into first-place in the South Division on Wednesday night with an 81-66 victory over Winthrop at Kimmel Arena. The Bulldogs led from start to finish and held off several Eagle rallies to win their ninth game in their last 11 contests. Asheville faces a High Point (6-12, 2-3 BSC) squad that had a two-game winning streak snapped in heartbreaking fashion at VMI Wednesday night. The Panthers led for most of the game before the Keydets tapped in a missed shot with 0.6 seconds left in overtime to give VMI an 82-80 victory. Saturday’s contest starts a stretch of six straight games against the North Division.
The Bulldogs have won their last six games against the Panthers but only one of those games has occurred at the Millis Center. Asheville is just 6-9 against High Point at the Millis Center and lost seven of its last nine games here.
First-year coach Nick McDevitt expects a very tough game with the Panthers on Saturday.
“High Point has had some injuries but has played through them and is playing much better right now,” stated McDevitt. “We’ve always had a tough time winning there, and I expect we’ll have our hands full Saturday night.”
High Point is led by sophomore forward John Brown. He’s one of the top players in the Big South and is averaging 19.1 points per game. Brown scored a career-high 28 points at VMI on Wednesday.
“John Brown is an excellent player who can dominate a game,” added McDevitt. “They’ve got good shooters to go along with him. We’re really going to have to execute on both offense and defense to have a chance at winning. We’ll need to play well for 40 minutes.”
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring with a 17.2 average. Jaron Lane is next with a 13.3 mark after scoring 22 points vs. Winthrop Wednesday night. Senior center D.J. Cunningham has a 10.5 scoring average and leads the Big South in rebounding (9.9) and blocked shots (50). Cunningham didn’t play against Winthrop due to the flu and it will be a game-time decision on Saturday.
Asheville has not played at High Point in two seasons and recorded an 86-79 win here two years ago but it was a game to remember. The Bulldogs led 65-37 lwith 11 minutes left before the Panthers went on an incredible 33-6 run to close to 71-70 with 3:30 left. The Bulldogs were able to get some baskets from Jeremy Atkinson down the stretch to hold High Point off
Asheville won last year’s meeting at Kimmel Arena, 69-58.
The Bulldogs continue their schedule against North foes on Tuesday night at home when they host VMI at 7 p.m.
UNC Asheville leads the all-time series against High Point 27-17 and has a 19-14 advantage against the Panthers in Big South contests. Asheville is 20-9 in its last 29 Big South Conference regular-season road games.
The Bulldogs have won their last 19 games in the regular-season against teams from the North. Asheville had won 22 straight games against North Division foes counting BSC tournament games until Longwood dismantled the Bulldogs, 87-72 in the first round of last year’s championship at Coastal Carolina. The Dogs have not lost to a North Division team in regular-season play since an 83-81 overtime loss at Liberty on Jan. 27, 2011.
D.J. Cunningham needs just two rebounds (701) to move past Brent Keck (702) into fourth place on the school’s career rebounding list. He will also become the school’s Division I leader.
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in a Big South-leading 15 straight games. His 17.2 scoring average has him eighth nationally in freshmen scoring.
Sam Hughes has missed just one free throw in Big South Conference games (15-of-16). Corey Littlejohn (14-of-16) had missed just two.
The Bulldogs have scored at least 80 points in four of their first five BSC games.
Asheville leads the Big South in free throw percentage at .742.
The Bulldogs are 72-33 (.686) over the last six league seasons and won at least 10 BSC games each of those six years.