SAN JUAN. P.R. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team arrived in San Juan on Tuesday as the Bulldogs participate in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament that will be held at Coliseo Ruben Rodriquez.
Asheville faces SEC foe Tennessee on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the first game of three-day tourney. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU and can be heard locally on WWNC (570-AM) Radio. An audio-stream of the game can be found at uncabulldogs.com.
The UNC Asheville Athletics Communications Office will be providing twitter feeds throughout each game in the tournament.
Asheville (1-1) lost on Sunday at UNC Wilmington, 67-59. The Bulldogs were sloppy in the loss with 22 turnovers and an offense that struggled during the game. The Blue & White shot just .345 (20-of-58) percent from the field and .118 (2-of-17) from the three-point line.
"We played hard on Sunday but not well enough to win on the road," declared Biedenbach. "If we had been a little more patient on offense and had a few less turnovers, we could have won the game."
The Bulldogs turn their attention toward the Volunteers (1-0). UT opened the season with a 76-67 win over Kennesaw State Friday night. The Vols are supposed to be much better than they were last year when they finished with a 19-15 overall record. Asheville nearly knocked off the Vols in Knoxville last season before falling, 72-68.
"Tennessee has a very good team and will be much better than it was last season," stated Biedenbach. "We need to play better than we did at UNC Wilmington in all areas of the game and hopefully we will.
"This is exciting to play in a prestigious tournament like the Puerto Rico Tip-Off," added Biedenbach. "We've been invited to this tournament because of the success we've had the past two years."
The Bulldogs will play either Akron or Oklahoma State on Friday depending on what happens on Thursday.
"This is going to be a tough tournament no matter what team we play," commented Biedenbach. "However, this tournament will make us a better basketball team later in the year by playing these good teams."
- 1. UNC Asheville is 0-8 vs. Tennessee. The Bulldogs lost in Knoxville last season, 72-68. Asheville is 3-28 all-time vs. teams from the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs own two wins over South Carolina and a victory at Auburn. The Bulldogs last win over an SEC team came at Auburn as they edged the Tigers, 70-69 in overtime to begin the 2010-11 season.
- 2. Asheville is 32-12 since the end of the 2010-11 season.
- 3. This is the just the second in-season tournament the Bulldogs have played in since the 1997-98 season. Asheville participated in the Battle "4" Atlantis last season on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The Bulldogs went 1-2 in the tourney with close losses to Connecticut and College of Charleston and an easy win over Utah.
- 4. Asheville has blocked 16 shots in the first two games.
- 5. Senior forward Jeremy Atkinson has led the Bulldogs in scoring in both games. He's averaging 20.5 points per game and shooting .500 (13-of-26) from the field.
- 6. Asheville has 43 turnovers in the first two games of the year.
- 7. The Bulldogs are just 2-of-24 (.083) from the three-point line this season.
- 8. Red-shirt junior center D.J. Cunningham has been one rebound short of a double-double in the first two games. He tops the Dogs in rebounding at 9.0 per game and is averaging 11.5 points per outing. Cunningham has nine blocked shots in the first two games, including a career-high six at UNC Wilmington on Sunday.