ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team is home Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs host Charleston Southern in a battle for first place in the South Division starting at 2 p.m.
Saturday's game will be broadcast by ESPN3. The game will also be on WPEK Radio (880-AM) starting with the pre-game show at 1:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs (15-11, 9-3) own a half-game lead over the Buccaneers (13-9, 8-3) entering today's game. Both clubs are coming off disappointing losses on Wednesday night. Asheville lost at home to Gardner-Webb 67-65 after leading by 19 points in the first half. CSU fell at Winthrop, 70-65 as the Bucs had a rough shooting night but almost came back for the victory.
The teams met in Charleston back on Feb. 16th with Asheville building a 12-point lead early in the second half only to see the Bucs roar back and win, 74-68. A win today by CSU would give the Bucs their first season sweep of the Bulldogs since the 2009-10 season.
"We need to bounce back from Wednesday's loss," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "That was very tough loss and one we should have won. Our guys need to turn the page and get ready for a very good Charleston Southern team."
The Bulldogs have won seven of their last eight games but the loss to the Runnin' Bulldogs still stings. The big stat in the game was rebounding. Gardner-Webb out-rebounded Asheville 37-30 and 22-10 in the second half. The Runnin' Bulldogs had 16 second-chance points in the second half to just one for the Dogs.
"We have to rebound better. You don't win too many games when you get out-rebounded like we did Wednesday night," commented Biedenbach. "One of the big reasons we lost at Charleston Southern was the way they beat us on the boards. We must improve in that area to have any chance of winning tomorrow."
Asheville is led in scoring by senior forward Jeremy Atkinson with a 17.6 average. He has scored in double figures in 33 of the last 34 games. Sophomore guard Keith Hornsby is next with a 15.4 average. He's averaging 16.5 points per game in league play.
Charleston Southern is led by its talented backcourt in sophomores' Saah Nimley (16.2 ppg) and Arlon Harper (15.0 ppg). Jeremy Sexton, who scored 18 points against the Bulldogs in the team's last meeting, has a 10.5 average and has knocked down a team-leading 44 three-pointers. The Buccaneers have been among the nation's leader in three-pointers made all season. They have made 9.2 per game.
"Charleston Southern has a very good team," declared Biedenbach. "They have great guards, a good inside game and a lot of depth. We're going to have to be at our best to have any chance of winning."
UNC Asheville is 14-5 since beginning the season 1-6.
Junior center D.J. Cunningham is second in the Big South and 11th nationally in blocked shots with 74. He has 161 career blocks and needs just two to move into the top 10 all-time in the Big South.
Asheville is 24-4 all-time at Kimmel Arena and 16-2 against BSC opponents here.
The Bulldogs are 13-1 when they out-rebound their opponents. They are 2-10 when they get out-rebounded.
Asheville leads the all-time series 37-34 with Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers have won five of the last eight games against the Bulldogs.
Junior guard Trent Meyer has 84 field goals on the year with 42 of those field goals being three-pointers.