ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team opens the 2012-13 season at Kimmel Arena Friday night when the Bulldogs host Western Carolina starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be picked up at the Kimmel Arena Box Office, on-line at uncabulldogs.com or call 828-258-7900.
Friday's game will be televised locally by WMYA-TV (Channel 40) and broadcast on WWNC Radio (570-AM). Both will have pre-game shows at 6:30 p.m.
Asheville played one exhibition game and defeated Brevard Monday night, 91-60. The Bulldogs placed five players in double figures and won handily over the Tornaods. Keith Hornsby scored a game-high 18 points in the game, while D.J. Cunningham posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
However, veteran head coach Eddie Biedenbach saw plenty of things that needed to be worked on before playing the Catamounts.
"We played hard for the most part and did a lot of good things in the game," admitted Biedenbach. "But we let them have way too many open shots and were fortunate that they missed a lot of them. We had too many turnovers and took some quick shots. We can't do those things against Western Carolina Friday night, or we'll lose like we did last year."
The Bulldogs went 24-10 last season en route to a second straight Big South Conference championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament. There were a lot of highlights last season, but Asheville's trip to Cullowhee wasn't one of them. WCU routed the Bulldogs, 86-67 at the Ramsey Center on Dec. 30.
"Western Carolina really took care of us last season," commented Biedenbach. "Larry Hunter (WCU head coach) is an excellent coach who always has his team ready to play. They did a great job against us last year and played extremely well in the Southern Conference Tournament. This is a very tough opener for us."
The teams have played 43 times with WCU holding a 24-19 series lead. Asheville holds a slight 12-9 edge over the Catamounts in games played on Bulldog home-courts. Kimmel Arena will be the third venue the teams have played in that serves as Asheville's home court. The teams have played at Justice Center and the Asheville Civic Center.
•1. This is UNC Asheville's first home opener since the 2008-09 season when the Bulldogs defeated Belmont Abby, 75-63. Asheville has not opened against a Division I team at home since the 2007-08 campaign when the Bulldogs edged Furman, 78-75.
•2. Asheville went 15-2 at Kimmel Arena last season.
•3. This is just the fourth time under head coach Eddie Biedenbach's tenure that the Bulldogs have played their opening game at home. Asheville is 4-12 under Biedenbach in opening games. However, 11 of those losses occurred on the road against BCS schools.
•4. The Bulldogs are on the road for their next five games. Asheville is at UNC Wilmington on Sunday and then heads to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off next week. The Bulldogs will open the tournament vs. Tennessee on Thursday (Nov. 15) at 12:30 p.m. Asheville's next home game won't be until Nov. 29 when it hosts USC Upstate.
•5. The Bulldogs are a much less experienced team than they were last season when Asheville started four seniors. Guard Trent Meyer and forward Jon Nwannunu will be making their first career starts tonight. Keith Hornsby makes his second career start, while Jeremy Atkinson and D.J. Cunningham do have some experience under their belts. Atkinson started 30 times last year at the forward spot, while Cunningham has earned 24 starts before red-shirting last year with a knee injury.