ASHEVILLE, N.C. - J.P. Primm scored 23 points as UNC Asheville remained unbeaten in Big South Conference play with a hard-fought 88-81 victory over Coastal Carolina Tuesday night before a crowd of 2,041 fans at Kimmel Arena.
The win was the Bulldogs (13-6, 8-0 BSC) seventh straight and their 8-0 start in league play tied a school record set by the 1997-98 team. Asheville shot .939 (31-of-33) from the free throw line. The .939 percentage was the second highest percentage in school history. The Bulldogs made 24 straight free throws during the game.
Joining Primm in double figures for Asheville was Matt Dickey with 19 points. Chris Stephenson added 17 points, while Jeremy Atkinson earned his first double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Chanticleers (13-5, 6-2 BSC) had six players in double figures. Sam McLaurin led the way for CCU with 17 points. Kierre Greenwood added 15 points. Jon Pack had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He also had five assists. Danny Nieman and Chris Gradnigo finished with 11 points
"This was a great basketball game tonight," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "I thought we played hard for 40 minutes and beat a great Coastal Carolina team. That's a very, very good team that Cliff Ellis has and they'll win a lot more games this season.
"Our free throw shooting was incredible," added Biedenbach. "We needed every free throw we could get to win the game."
The Bulldogs led 49-38 early in the second half before Coastal Carolina rallied back. The Chanticleers went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 51-51. Pack began the run with six straight points before Greenwood's free throw knotted the game with 14:48 left.
Asheville came right back. Primm knocked down a long trey to give the Bulldogs the lead for good as the home team scored the next nine points to surge to a 60-51 lead on two free throws from Dickey at the 12:45 mark.
CCU could get no closer than five points the rest of the game. The Bulldogs went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe to seal their first win over the Chanticleers at home since the 2008-09 season.
Coastal Carolina out-rebounded Asheville 36-26 and stay in the game by out-scoring the Bulldogs 17-7 on second-chance points.
Primm enjoyed a tremendous all-around game. He went 6-of-10 from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. Primm added six assists and four steals.
Greenwood had a solid game in the backcourt for the Chants. He went 6-of-12 from the field, collected six rebounds and had five assists.
In the first half, Primm scored 16 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 47-38 halftime lead. Asheville took the lead for good in the opening half when it went on an early 11-2 run to sprint to an 18-12 lead. The Bulldog hit three 3-pointers in the surge as Stephenson knocked down two long treys along with Dickey.
CCU made a late run and closed to 39-36 on a McLaurin lay-up at the 3:46 mark. The Bulldogs led 41-38 before Primm scored on a four-point play to push the lead to 45-38. Dickey scored off a feed from Primm with four seconds left to go to give Asheville the nine-point lead.
UNC Asheville doesn't have much time to enjoy this victory as the Bulldogs host Big South rival Charleston Southern Thursday night at 7 p.m. Coastal Carolina is back on the road at Radford Saturday evening at 7 p.m.