ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs can wrap up the #1 seed for the 2012 Big South Conference Tournament and clinch a post-season tournament bid when they host league for Radford at Kimmel Arena on Saturday starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday's game can be heard locally on WWNC (570-AM) with the pre-game show at 4 p.m. The game can also be seen via video-streaming at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (18-7, 13-1 BSC) has won 12 of its last 13 games and enter Saturday's game with a five-game winning streak after knocking off VMI and Liberty last week on the road. The Bulldogs downed the Keydets 89-86 on Feb. 2 and then beat Liberty, 65-51 last Saturday night.
Asheville has a three-game lead on second place teams Campbell and Coastal Carolina going into Saturday's action. A Bulldog win would clinch at least a tie for the BSC regular-season title and ensure they'd be the #1 seed in the Big South Tournament. It would also mean Kimmel Arena would play host to the tournament's quarterfinals (Feb. 29) and semifinals (March 1) games. And the Bulldogs would be assured of playing in some type of post-season play following the league tournament.
"I was real proud of our guys for finding a way to win two games on the road last week in two tough places to play," admitted Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We battled in both games with two different styles of play and got the job done.
"I thought our defense and rebounding in the Liberty game was the best it had been all year," added Biedenbach. "Liberty did a good job slowing us down but we adjusted against and found a way to win."
Radford (5-21, 2-12 BSC) is rebuilding under first-year head coach Mike Jones. However, the Highlanders gave the Bulldogs all they wanted at the Dedmon Center on Jan. 2 before Asheville came out with a 66-56 win. The game was tied at 54-54 with less than four minutes to go as the Bulldogs made a late surge to win the contest. Chris Stephenson scored a career-high 33 points in the victory. It was not easy and Saturday's game will be just as tough. The Highlanders won at Gardner-Webb on Thursday, 56-52.
"Radford has some really talented young players," declared Biedenbach. "They've been in every game they've played this year. Radford came close to winning at Maryland and it picked up a fantastic win at Gardner-Webb Thursday night. We like to think we're playing better than we did when we played there on Jan. 2 but I'm sure Radford thinks that, too. Our guys know that this will be a tough game and we have to be physically and mentally ready to play for 40 minutes."
Radford is led by freshman guard R.J. Price (11.2 ppg) and rookie forward Javonte Green (10.2 ppg). Price scored 13 points and had seven assists in the first meeting between the teams.
Matt Dickey continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring with a 16.9 average. J.P. Primm is averaging 15.8 points per game.
UNC Asheville is sixth nationally in scoring with an 82.6 per game average. The Bulldogs are ninth nationally in assists at 17.1 and eighth in field goal percentage at .494.
Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm were both held in check at Radford on Jan. 2. Each player did not score in double figures in the game and that's the only time that's happened this season.
Asheville has won the last four meetings in the series as the series is tied at 30 wins apiece. The Bulldogs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the teams in Asheville.
The Bulldogs have shot at least .780 percent from the free throw line in seven of the last eight games.
Asheville had three players grab at least 10 rebounds in the Liberty game. That's the first time that's happened in the Division I era.
The Bulldogs have had three different players - Chris Stephenson, J.P. Primm and Matt Dickey - score at least 30 points in a game this season.