Asheville (12-6, 7-0 BSC) has won six straight games and are coming off two big road wins last week as the Bulldogs won at Campbell, 89-82 Thursday night and then defeated High Point Saturday, 86-79. The Bulldogs 7-0 record in league play is the team's best start since the 2007-08 season.
Coastal Carolina (13-4, 6-1 BSC) has won five straight games and owns impressive non-conference victories over Clemson and LSU.
Tuesday's game is a rematch of last year's Big South Conference title game. The Bulldogs downed the Chanticleers, 60-47 in Conway, S.C.
"We're excited about Tuesday game," stated Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach. "Our guys are playing pretty well right now, but Coastal Carolina is playing just as well. They have a very good team and are well-coached by Cliff Ellis. We're going to have to play as good as we possibly can to have a chance at winning."
Asheville owns two memorable victories over the Chanticleers from last season. Matt Dickey's steal and last-second three-pointer in the regular season gave the Bulldogs a 61-58 victory at Coastal Carolina. Close to 10 days later, Asheville won the Big South Tournament on the Chanticleers home floor.
However, Coastal Carolina has won in its last two trips to Asheville. Last season, the Chanticleers ripped the Bulldogs at Justice Center, 80-59. CCU had won four straight in the series with three of the wins by 20 points or more before Asheville broke through late in the year.
Tuesday's game starts a busy week for the Bulldogs as they'll face a very good Charleston Southern team Thursday night at Kimmel at 7 p.m. Asheville finishes the week with a tough road game at Presbyterian College at 7 p.m.
"We're in the middle of a tough stretch with a lot of games in a short amount of time," commented Biedenbach. "Hopefully, this type of grind gets our guys prepared for the Big South Tournament."
The Atkinson Diet: Junior forward Jeremy Atkinson was a real force for the Bulldogs last weekend in their two road wins. He scored a career-high 22 points, 19 in the second half on Thursday as Asheville rallied past Campbell, 89-82. On Saturday at High Point, Jeremy scored a team-high 19 points and collected seven rebounds. For the two games, Atkinson was 14-of-19 (.737) from the field, 13-of-18 from the charity stripe and collected 15 rebounds. Jeremy is one of five Bulldogs averaging in double figures with an 11.1 average. He enters tonight's game with four straight games scoring in double figures. Atkinson was named Big South Player of the Week on Monday
Winning Ways: UNC Asheville enters tonight's game with a six-game winning streak. It's the longest regular-season winning streak for the Bulldogs since the 2010-11 team won seven straight. Asheville has posted 10 consecutive Big South Conference regular-season victories dating back to last season. Counting the BSC Tournament from last year, the Bulldogs have 13 straight wins against league opponents. Asheville has won six straight home games at Kimmel Arena. The Bulldogs only home loss was to then top-ranked UNC Chapel Hill on Nov. 13, 91-75 in the first game in the facility. Asheville's 7-0 start to BSC play marks the fourth time the Bulldogs have had this record after seven games and the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
Six Players in Double Figures: UNC Asheville placed six players in double figures in the victory at High Point Saturday night. It marked the fourth time this season that six Bulldogs scored in double figures. Senior forward Quinard Jackson became the 11th player on the roster to score in double figures this season as he was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and scored 11 points. "Q" also knocked down a three-pointer to end the first half. He has seven treys on the season. Jackson is a perfect 4-of-4 from long distance in BSC games.
Mighty Matt: Senior guard Matt Dickey continues to have a sensational year. He's scored in double figures in 16 of 18 games this season. Matt set a new career high in rebounds in the Campbell win with 10. He just missed a triple-double against the Camels with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Dickey scored 16 points at High Point and went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, making his final nine free throws, including some key charity tosses in the final three minutes. He has moved into sixth place on Asheville's career scoring list as he now has 1,520 points. He needs four tonight to move past George Gilbert (1,523) into fifth place. Matt needs 30 points to move past Josh Pittman (1,549) into fourth place on the career list.
Winning Ways on the Road: The Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 in league play this season. Dating back to last year, Asheville is 11-3 in BSC road games as the Dogs were 6-3 in enemy territory last year.
Comeback Wins: Asheville has been a good team coming from behind this year. In three of the Bulldogs five BSC road wins, Asheville trailed at halftime before rallying for the win. On Saturday, the Dogs had to be way of a comeback. The Bulldogs led 67-39 with 11 minutes left before High Point went on an incredible 33-6 comeback to pull to 73-72 with four minutes left. Asheville was able to right the ship and got some big buckets from Jaron Lane and Jeremy Atkinson down the stretch.