Bulldogs Roll into Semifinals with 86-61 Win over High Point

February 29, 2012
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Courtesy: UNC Asheville
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Top-seeded UNC Asheville rode a 25-5 run midway through the second half and went on to defeat 8th seed High Point 86-61 Wednesday in the quarterfinal round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship at Kimmel Arena.

The host Bulldogs (22-9) will meet fourth-seeded Charleston Southern (19-11) in Thursday's 8 p.m. semifinal. The Buccaneers were the only Big South team to beat Asheville at Kimmel Arena when CSU edged the Bulldogs, 93-88.

 Sixth-seeded Winthrop (12-19) will take on seventh seed VMI (16-15) in Thursday's 6:00 p.m. match-up.  Both semifinal games will be broadcast on ESPNU. 

 The Keydets eliminated second seed Coastal Carolina (19-11) 85-68 in Wednesday's first quarterfinal.  Winthrop upset third-seeded Campbell (17-15) 71-55 in the second game.

 High Point (13-18), which advanced on the strength of a 68-58 first-round victory over Gardner-Webb Monday, went 7:45 without a field goal during the decisive second period stretch.

 After High Point pulled within 39-33 on Shay Shine's hanging layup with 16:08 to go, Asheville started the flurry by scoring 13 of the next 15 points.  Defending champion Asheville extended its lead to as many as 30 (80-50) before Coach Eddie Biedenbach pulled his starters.

The Bulldogs shot 65.2 percent (15-23) from the field in the second half and made 21-of-30 free throws after the break.

 Chris Stephenson led five Bulldogs in double figures with 18 points on 7-of-11 from the field.  Jeremy Atkinson added 16 points and 8 boards, while J.P. Primm had 15, plus 6 assists.  Jaron Lane contributed 13 and Big South player of the year Matt Dickey 11 for Asheville, which finished with a 22-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

"I thought we did a very good job, our whole team, except about a five -minute stretch in the first half, as we played focused and played our game," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. " I told our guys to focus on High Point at the start of the tournament and I thought they did that and I am extremely happy about that. High Point has played great basketball since they changed their lineup and switched to a zone about six or seven games ago.  They are good enough to play Purdue to two points and they are a very good basketball team. We had no chance to relax in this game, not against High Point, or anybody in this League."

 Shine topped High Point with 22 points, while Devante Wallace added 12.  Nick Barbour, the Big South's leading scorer at 20.9 points per game, missed 15 of his first 16 shots and finished with 7 points on 2-of-17 shooting (1-of-8 threes) to end a string of five-straight, 20-plus point performances.

High Point shot 21-of-55 (.382) on the night, 6-of-24 from 3-point distance and 13-of-19 from the line.  UNC Asheville connected on 26-of-54 shots (.481), 5-of-20 triples, and 29-of-41 (.707) from the stripe.

Asheville closed the first half on a 13-2 run and led 34-25 at the break when Stephenson's short jumper fell through the bucket as the horn sounded.

The Bulldogs jumped to a 12-4 lead with 16:31 left in the opening period before High Point answered with 10 unanswered points.  Wallace's 3 from left of the key gave the Panthers their first lead (14-12) with 13:10 to play.

After missing his first six shots of the game, Barbour sank a triple from the left wing to put High Point in front 23-21 with 5:47 to go in the period.  But the Panthers made only 1 of their 7 attempts from the floor over the last five minutes of the half.

Lane scored all six of his first-half points in the final 4:58 for the Bulldogs.  Dickey and Stephenson scored eight points in the opening period, while Atkinson had 7.

Barbour missed 8 of his 9 shots from the field in the first half and made only 1-of-5 threes.  Averaging 26.8 points over the last 5 contests, Barbour had only 3 points in the first period.  Wallace, Shine and Law led High Point with 6 first-half points.

 High Point shot 36 percent (9-25) from the field, 4-of-14 from 3-point distance and 3-of-6 from the line in the first half.  Asheville converted 6 Panther miscues into a 12-4 edge in points off turnovers, while scoring 11 second-chance points (to only 4 four HPU) before intermission.

NOTES - UNC Asheville is in the semifinals of the BSC Tournament for the sixth straight year...Matt Dickey finished with 11 points and was in double figures for the 28th time this season...Asheville is 13-2 at Kimmel Arena this season...the Bulldogs have won 23 of their last 25 games against Big South Conference opponents dating back to last season...Eddie Biedenbach has 18 Big South Tournament victories, second most in league history...Asheville out-rebounded High Point 36-28 and has now out-rebounded seven of its last eight opponents.


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