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D.J. Cunningham is 12th nationally in blocked shots this season
Courtesy: UNC Asheville
Bulldogs Open BSC Play at Gardner-Webb Wednesday Night
Courtesy: UNCABulldogs.com
Release: 01/07/2014
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team opens Big South Conference play Wednesday night at Gardner-Webb starting at 7 p.m.

 

Wednesday’s game will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. Fans can also see the game for free on the Big South Digital Network at uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.

 

The Bulldogs (6-8) had a five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday as Ohio rallied in the second half for a 79-70 victory. Asheville was led in scoring by freshman guard Andrew Rowsey with a career-high 28 points. The 28 points also set a freshman school record.

 

“Ohio is a very good team, and we did a nice job battling them for 40 minutes,” explained first-year coach Nick McDevitt. “We had a chance to win but didn’t get the job done. Our effort was excellent and we learned a lot from that game. Hopefully, playing a team like Ohio will prepare us for Big South Conference play.”

 

The Bulldogs are 8-2 against Gardner-Webb since the Runnin’ Bulldog program joined the Big South Conference but both losses were suffered last year. And both losses were key defeats suffered by Asheville.

 

The teams’ first meeting came in Boiling Springs and GWU prevailed 78-71. The Runnin’ Bulldogs led from start to finish and overcame Will Weeks’ career-high 27 points.  Asheville had won four of its last five games, including road wins at Northeastern, St. John’s and Liberty but was no match for the Runnin’ Bulldogs that night.

 

A little over a month later, Gardner-Webb rallied for a 67-65 win at Kimmel Arena. Asheville led by 19 in the first half and led for most of the game but ferocious rebounding by the Runnin’ Bulldogs helped rally the visitors to their first win in Asheville in 28 years. The loss began a season-ending slide for the Blue & White that saw them lose six of its last seven games.

 

Asheville faces a challenge against a Gardner-Webb (7-8) club that is 4-1 on the season at home. It will be a battle of first-year coaches. McDevitt is in his first year as head man with the Bulldogs, while Tim Craft is in his first as GWU mentor.

 

“Gardner-Webb has a good team. They have plenty of key players back from the squad that knocked us off twice,” declared McDevitt. “We’ve always had real battles with them, and hopefully we’ll be ready to play Wednesday night.”

 

The Runnin’ Bulldogs have not played since Jan. 2 when they lost at Delaware State in overtime, 66-65.

Rowsey continues to lead Asheville in scoring with a 16.4 average. Jaron Lane has a 12.5 scoring mark, while D.J. Cunningham is averaging 10.3 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds per game. He leads the Big South and is 12th nationally in blocked shots with 39 (3.5).

 

BULLDOG NOTES

 

UNC Asheville has won 16 of its last 17 Big South Conference openers, including eight straight. Nick McDevitt is 15-1 in Big South lid-lifters as a player and assistant coach.  The Bulldogs have won eight straight BSC openers on the road.  McDevitt has been a part of all of those wins either as a player or as an assistant coach.

 

Asheville is 21-8 in its last 29 games against BSC teams on the road.

 

Jaron Lane is closing in on 1,000 career points. He enters the Gardner-Webb game with 945 career points.

 

D.J. Cunningham has 219 career blocked shots and 651 career rebounds. He is just the second player in school history and sixth in Big South history to record more than 200 blocks and 600 rebounds.

 

Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in 13 of Asheville’s 14 games this season. He has scored more 20 points in four contests.  

 

The Bulldogs start an all-freshman backcourt in Andrew Rowsey and David Robertson. Asheville is 5-3 since starting the duo together in the backcourt.  

 

Asheville is 6-1 when it out-rebounds its opponent.

 

The Bulldogs have won at least 10 league games for four consecutive seasons.

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