UNC Asheville looks for its first win of the season but will have a tough assignment this afternoon against a Furman squad that is vastly improved from last year. The Bulldogs fell to 0-4 after a 79-58 loss at Georgia Tuesday night. The Paladins only won six games last season but are already halfway there this year with a 3-1 record. Furman owns wins over Lees-McRae, Presbyterian and Dartmouth. They gave a good effort on Tuesday before losing at Rice, 77-65.
This is the first meeting between the teams since the opening game of the 2007-08 season when Asheville held off a late Furman comeback to record a 78-75 victory. Tonight's game is a homecoming for Paladin assistant coach Mark Vanderslice. "Slice" is a graduate of UNC Asheville and was a student-assistant coach for the Bulldogs from 2000-02.
Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach is very impressed with Furman.
"Furman is much improved from last year," commented Biedenbach. "And in fairness to them last season they had a lot of injuries that slowed them down a little bit. However, this season they're healthy and have looked like a team that's going to win a lot of games this year. We'd rather they not win one of those games on Friday against us."
On Tuesday at Georgia, Asheville fell behind 16-2 after five minutes and simply could never catch up. The Bulldogs' early-season shooting woes continued in the game as Asheville shot 35 percent from the field, 22 percent from the three-point line and a dismal 50 percent from the charity stripe.
"It's awful hard to win games when you can't score," said Biedenbach. "We're better shooters than we've showed so far. Hopefully, we'll start making some shots here soon."
NOTES - UNC Asheville leads the all-time series with Furman, 6-5 and has captured the last three meetings...the Bulldogs have won 28 of its last 36 home games at Justice Center dating back to the end of the 2006-07 season...Asheville has allowed its last three opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field...the Bulldogs play Kentucky in Louisville on Monday night.