ASHEVILLE, N.C. – UNC Asheville shook off a sluggish first half to record its third straight win with an 83-58 victory over NAIA Virginia Intermont Friday night at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs (4-7) were led by Andrew Rowsey’s team-high 22 points. He scored 19 in the second half. D.J. Cunningham finished with his third double-double of the season with 13 and 14 rebounds. Corey Littlejohn came off the bench and just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Cobras (3-11) were led by a game-high 28 points from Joshua Hart. J.D. Tucker finished with 13 points.
The Bulldogs trailed throughout much of the first half as the Cobras controlled the tempo and got eight points from Hart to lead 20-17 with 5:00 to go in the opening half.
Asheville finally picked up the pace and got a three-pointer as the half ended by Rowsey, his first points of the game, to take at 29-23 halftime lead.
Both teams struggled with its shooting in the opening half. The Bulldogs shot just .370 (10-of-27) from the field, while VI shot .278 (10-of-36).
The home team finally took charge in the second half. Asheville led 40-31 at the 14-minute mark before going on a 14-3 run to race to a 55-34 lead. Rowsey led the run with 11 points.
The Bulldogs built the lead to as much as 28 before settling for the 25-point win. Asheville shot much better in the second half as it knocked down .548 (17-of-31) of its field goal attempts.
Cunningham finished a season-high 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. He now has 625 career rebounds and is in eighth place on the school’s career list. Cunningham’s six blocks gives him 203 career blocks. He’s just the second player in school history to have more than 600 rebounds and more than 200 blocks.
The Bulldogs dominated the backboards as they out-rebounded the Cobras, 61-27. Asheville had 23 offensive rebounds and out-scored the visitors, 34-18 in the paint.
UNC Asheville is back in action next Saturday (Dec. 28) afternoon when the Bulldogs welcome UNC Wilmington to Kimmel Arena.
UNC Asheville is 28-6 all-time at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs are 8-2 in the month of December over the past two years.
Asheville had a season-high 20 turnovers.
Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games this season.