ASHEVILLE, N.C. - J.P. Primm scored 23 points and dished out 11 assists as fourth-seeded UNC Asheville defeated fifth-seeded High Point 84-73 in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference men's basketball championship at Justice Center Tuesday night.
The win moves the Bulldogs (15-15) to the semifinals of the tournament against top-seeded Coastal Carolina Thursday night at Kimbel Arena in Conway. S.C.
Primm becomes the first Asheville player to ever record a double-double with points and assists in a Big South Tournament game.
Sean Smith tied a season-high with 20 points, including 13 in the first half for Asheville. Matt Dickey chipped in 18 points and six assists for the Bulldogs.
The Panthers (15-15) were led by a game-high 25 points from Nick Barbour. Corey Law finished with 14 points. David Campbell chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Asheville led from start to finish as the Bulldogs won their ninth straight home game. It was Asheville's fifth win in the last six games.
The Bulldogs were in control early as Smith hit four of his five treys in the first 12 minutes of the game to give Asheville a 22-9 lead.
Campbell gave the Panthers a lift late in the first half with seven straight points to cut the lead to 30-20 at the 2:12 mark. Primm scored five of the final six points of the half for Asheville to give the Bulldogs a 36-20 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs' defense limited the Panthers to 30 percent shooting (7-of-23) from the field. Asheville was red-hot from the three-point line as it went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc in the opening half.
In the second half, Barbour scored 21 points as the Panthers mustered several rallies at the Bulldogs. Two free from Eugene Harris allowed the visitors to close to 61-53 with 7:25 left.
Jaron Lane scored for Asheville and Primm hit a huge three-pointer to give the Bulldogs some breathing room at 66-53.
The Panthers kept clawing back and Barbour's trey at the 1:11 mark got High Point within 75-68. And two free throws from Tehruan Cox narrowed the lead to 76-79 with 59 seconds left.
However, Smith hit two free throws for a 78-70 lead and Dickey blocked a shot on the next HPU possession. Primm was fouled and knocked down both free throws to give the Bulldogs an 80-70 lead with 38 seconds left.
Primm's 11 assists gives him a career total of 308 and moving him into ninth place on Asheville's career mark in that category. Leading rebounder for High Point Cruz Daniels was limited by foul trouble the whole game and did not score in 11 minutes of action.
Eddie Biedenbach (UNC Asheville)
"I really liked the energy and defensive intensity we had in the early going of the game that helped get us going. We battled hard for 40 minutes and beat a well-coached High Point team. I thought we maintained our poise in the second half because we knew High Point would make some runs.
Sean Smith got us going with some big three-pointers. I thought our guards overall played very well tonight. They scored a lot of points, ran the offense well and did a good job on defense."
Scott Cherry (High Point)
"Congratulations to Asheville. The played very well and it's tough in this league to win on the road, especially in tournament play.
I want to thank my two seniors, Cruz Daniels and Eugene Harris I certainly didn't want their careers to end this way," said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. "I want to thank them for everything they did for my family, High Point University and the community."
"As for the game itself, I credit UNC Asheville. They started fast and finished fast. My guys battled hard and gave it everything they had, we just didn't make plays we needed to make. Shots didn't fall numerous times when they were bouncing on the rim and on tip-ins. Eighteen-for-32 from the free throw line didn't help either."