Asheville (19-7, 14-1 BSC) is looking to finish unbeaten on the road in league play for the first time in school history and just the third time in Big South history. Ironically, the Chanticleers accomplished the feat last season. The Bulldogs are 8-0 in enemy Big South territory this season and have won 10 straight games against league opponents on the road dating back to last year.
Asheville will face a tough Coastal Carolina squad on Tuesday night that will try a break a three-game losing streak. The Chanticleers are 17-8 overall and 10-5 in league play. The Bulldogs slipped past Coastal Carolina, 88-81 at Kimmel Arena back on Jan. 17.
"We played very, very well to beat Coastal Carolina last month and it's going to take an even better effort to win at their place," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "I know they've lost a couple of games lately but they've had some injuries and some bad breaks. This is still an outstanding basketball team that's well-coached by Cliff Ellis. They have a formidable team both inside and outside."
CCU is led in scoring by senior guard Anthony Raffa with a 16.6 average. Chris Gradnigo is averaging 15.3 points per game. Kierre Greenwood averages 11.2 points per game and has 99 assists. Center Sam McLaurin is one of the best in the Big South with a 10.0 scoring average and is shooting .647 from the field.
In the game on Jan. 17, J.P. Primm led a balanced Asheville attack with 23 points. The Bulldogs were an amazing 31-of-33 from the free throw line at .939. Coastal Carolina was led by McLaurin's 17 points, while Jon Pack had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"I thought both teams played very well the last time we played," commented Biedenbach. "We did a great job getting fouled and making our free throws. I'd like for us to a better job rebounding than we did last time as they beat us pretty bad on the boards."
CCU had a 36-26 advantage on the boards in the first meeting. The Bulldogs have been much better on the boards lately and have outrebounded their last two opponents by more than 12 rebounds.
"Our rebounding and defense has been much better the last few games," admitted Biedenbach. "We're going to need that kind of effort as we go forward into the Big South Tournament."
Asheville has won seven straight games and 14 of its last 15 games. Dating back to last season, Asheville has won 20 of its last 21 games against league opponents.
The Bulldogs have shot better than 90 percent from the free throw line three times this season.
Asheville has scored at least 86 points in 10 of the last 12 games.
The Bulldogs have won their last two trips to Kimbel Arena, including last year's Big South Conference championship game when Asheville downed the Chanticleers, 60-47.
Asheville has won five Big South Conference regular-season titles, all under head coach Eddie Biedenbach.
The Bulldogs will at least go to the NIT if they don't win the Big South Tournament. This marks the first time Asheville will go to post-season play in back-to-back seasons in school history.
Asheville has five players averaging in double figures in scoring. The five players are: Matt Dickey (17.1), J.P. Primm (15.7), Chris Stephenson (13.4), Jaron Lane (12.6) and Jeremy Atkinson (10.6).
The Bulldogs lead the Big South and are third nationally in scoring with an 82.8 average. Asheville is eighth nationally in assists with a 17.1 per game mark. The Bulldogs are shooting .494 from the field and that ranks them seventh nationally in field goal percentage.