ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team gets back into Big South Conference play when the Bulldogs travel to league rival Winthrop Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. Saturday's game will be broadcast on WWNC Radio (570-AM) starting with the pre-game show at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. It will be available to Direct TV customers on Channel 640 and on Dish Channel 432. A free audio stream of the broadcast will be offered at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (6-6, 1-0 BSC) hopes to stop a two-game losing streak and recover from a disappointing effort at Western Carolina Wednesday as the Bulldogs fell, 86-67. The Catamounts went on a 21-4 run midway through the first half and cruised to the win over their mountain rivals.
"We didn't play very well at Western Carolina from start to finish," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We didn't prepare as well as we should have and that carried over to the game. Hopefully, losing a game like we did will get us ready for Winthrop."
The Eagles are 4-9 on the season and 1-1 in league play. However, they just missed upsetting Georgia on the road Tuesday night when they lost 92-86 in overtime. The Eagles trailed for much of the game before leading late but just couldn't hold on down the stretch. Biedenbach expects a tough game from Winthrop.
"Winthrop's overall record is really misleading," commented Biedenbach. "They've played a very tough non-conference schedule and been in all of those games. As usual, Winthrop plays great defense and is ferocious on the boards. Our guys better be ready to play hard for 40 minutes on Saturday."
The teams split last year with each club winning on the road. Asheville played one of its best games of the season at Winthrop (1-6) a year ago as it won 88-67. The Eagles earned a split with a hard-fought 57-53 (2-5) victory at Justice Center. It would be Asheville's last loss to a league foe at Justice Center.
The Bulldogs have five players scoring in double figures. Matt Dickey tops the club with a 16.4 average. J.P. Primm (13.4), Chris Stephenson (13.1), Jaron Lane (11.3) and Jeremy Atkinson (10.2) are the other double-figure scorers for Asheville. Lane will not play in Saturday's game due to academics.
Andre Jones leads the Winthrop attack with a 19.4 mark. Reggie Middleton is averaging 11.8 points per game.
The Bulldogs are trying to win two straight games at the Winthrop Coliseum for the first time since the late 90's when Asheville won four consecutive contests from 1995 through 1998.
Asheville has won seven straight Big South Conference games dating back to last season and including tournament games.
Winthrop leads the all-time series between the teams, 31-28. Asheville is just 3-12 at the Winthrop Coliseum in its last 15 games against the Eagles.
Asheville has won seven of its last 10 Big South Conference road games, including a 66-60 victory over Gardner-Webb on Dec. 1
Senior guard Matt Dickey has scored in double figures in 11 of the first 12 games this season. He scored a season-high 23 points at Western Carolina. Dickey needs three points today to move into ninth place on Asheville's career scoring list. He has 1,427 career points entering today's game.
Senior guard J.P. Primm needs five assists today to become the school's all-time career leader in assists. He has 516 and is four behind all-time leader K.J. Garland (520).
The 19-point loss at Western Carolina was Asheville's worst defeat of the season.
Junior forward Jeremy Atkinson has scored in double figures in four consecutive games.
Asheville has had 10 different players score in double figures this year.