ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Keith Hornsby scored 21 points to lead UNC Asheville to a hard-fought 66-55 victory over visiting Lenoir-Rhyne Wednesday night at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs (3-6) had to rally for the win as they trailed by Bears by four points midway through the second half before taking charge of the game down the stretch.
Jeremy Atkinson added 12 points, while D.J. Cunningham came off the bench to score 10 points. He grabbed seven rebounds and had five blocked shots. Asheville blocked a season-high 11 shots on the night.
Lenoir-Rhyne was led by Allan Jones with 12 points, while R.J. McClure added 10 points. The game was an exhibition game for the Bears and did not count against their record.
"We have to play better than we did tonight, but we found a way to win against a very good Lenoir-Rhyne team," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We were sloppy and didn't play too well for a majority of the game but in the last 10 minutes we showed some grittiness and got the job done. It was nice to win a close game."
LR led 38-34 with 11 minutes left as McClure knocked down a three-pointer. But the Bulldogs began to rally as Cunningham scored six straight points to put Asheville in front 42-40.
Jones tied the game with a lay-up before Trent Meyer put the home team in front for good with a 3-pointer at 45-42.
Leading 45-44 with seven minutes left, Asheville seized control by going on a 13-2 run to race to a 58-46 lead over the next five minutes. Hornsby had seven points during the run as the Bears had just one field goal during the stretch.
Asheville eventually led by 15 at 62-47 before settling for the 66-55 win.
The first-half was a sloppy affair as the Bulldogs had 12 turnovers, while the Bears had nine. Asheville led 16-9 midway through the opening half but made eight turnovers in the final eight minutes as Lenoir-Rhyne rallied and took a 27-26 halftime lead. Denzel Dillingham scored all eight of his points for the Bears in the opening half.
The Bulldogs shot .577 (15-of-26) from the field in the second half, while the Bears shot just .333 (12-for-36) in the half.
Asheville outscored LR 44-30 in the paint. The Bulldogs entered the game shooting .737 from the free throw line but shot a season-low .478 (11-of-23) for the game.
UNC Asheville begins a demanding three-game road trip on Saturday when the Bulldogs play at #7 Ohio State.