ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs are back at home Thursday night when they host the High Point Panthers in a key Big South Conference battle at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m. Thursday's game will be video-streamed and can be seen at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (14-7, 9-1 BSC) hopes to remain in first place in the Big South Conference standings with a win against the dangerous Panthers (7-13, 3-7 BSC). The Bulldogs had a seven-game winning streak snapped last Thursday at home against Charleston Southern, 93-88, but Asheville rebounded to win at Presbyterian College on Saturday, 66-58.
High Point is trying to snap a frustrating four-game winning streak that started with a loss to Asheville on Jan. 14 when the Bulldogs held on for an 86-79 win at the Millis Center. The Dogs led by 28 with 11 minutes left only to see the Panthers go on a 33-6 run over the next seven minutes to cut the Asheville lead to 73-72. The Bulldogs got some key buckets from Jeremy Atkinson and Jaron Lane down the stretch to seal the win. Nick Barbour led the High Point comeback with 33 points, 19 in the second half.
"We played much better defensively at Presbyterian College Saturday night," commented Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "I was glad to get that win on Saturday as it ended a stretch of playing five games in 10 days.
"High Point presents a pretty good challenge for our guys," added Biedenbach. "We played really, really well for about 30 minutes at High Point and then they came back on us pretty impressively. We're going to have to be ready to play 40 minutes tomorrow night."
The Bulldogs continue to have five players scoring in double figures in Matt Dickey (16.1), J.P. Primm (15.3), Chris Stephenson (14.1), Jaron Lane (12.3) and Jeremy Atkinson (10.9).
Barbour leads High Point and the Big South in scoring with a 20.2 average. He's shooting an amazing .493 from the three-point line and tops the league in three-pointers made per game at 3.5. Barbour has scored more than 30 points in two of the last three games he's faced the Bulldogs. He scored 32 points in a regular-season game against Asheville on Feb. 24 and then had 33 two weeks ago. In the last three games against the Bulldogs, Barbour is averaging 28.9 points per game. Asheville "held" him to 21 points in last year's Big South Tournament 62-45 semifinal win over the Panthers.
UNC Asheville's 9-1 BSC record is its best after 10 games since the 1997-98 season when the Bulldogs were 9-1.
The Bulldogs are sixth nationally in scoring 82.2 points per game. They're second in the Big South in that category behind VMI at 84.2. Asheville is averaging 17 assists per game, ninth best nationally. The Bulldogs are 10th nationally but third in the Big South in field goal percentage at .493.
Senior guard J.P. Primm is about to become the school's all-time career leader in steals. He picked up two steals at PC Saturday night to give him a career total of 223, tying him with Andre Smith for the all-time career lead. J.P. is already the school's all-time leader in assists (552). He is also moved into eighth place on the school's career scoring list as he has 1,486 points.
Senior guard Matt Dickey is now fourth in career scoring at Asheville with 1,568 points. He is the school's all-time Division I leading career scorer. Matt has accumulated 388 career assists, good for fifth all-time at Asheville.
The Bulldogs have had 21 steals in the last two games.
Asheville has shot at least 49 percent from the field in the past four games and been above 50 percent in four of the last six contests.
The Bulldogs are 25-of-54 (.463) from the three-point line in the last three games.
Matt Dickey has made 20 consecutive free throws.
J.P. Primm is 25-of-48 (.521) from the three-point line in the last seven games.