SAN JUAN, P.R. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team enjoyed a day off at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday. The Bulldogs will finish the tournament on Sunday when they face Providence from the Big East Conference in the seventh-place game starting at 11 a.m.
Sunday's game will be televised nationally by ESPNU and broadcast locally on WPEK Radio (880-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 10:30 a.m.
Both teams hope to salvage a win in the tournament finale. The Bulldogs lost to Tennessee on Thursday, 75-68 before falling to Akron, 82-63 Friday afternoon. The Friars (2-2) have lost close games to Massachusetts (77-75) and Penn State (55-50) in the tourney. Providence has struggled with injuries in the first part of the season and could only have seven scholarship players available for Sunday's game.
"It was nice to have a day off today and see some of the sites here in Puerto Rico," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "Hopefully, we'll be ready to play tomorrow against Providence."
Despite the injuries to the Friars, Biedenbach expects a very tough game with the Friars on Sunday.
"Providence is in the Big East and has a great basketball tradition," declared Biedenbach. "They came to this tournament 2-0 and have lost two close games here that they easily could have won. I'm sure Providence wants to come out of here with a win, just like we do.
"We're going to need to play better than we did on Friday against Akron," added Biedenbach. "Our guys are going to have to be ready to grind it out against a Big East team and that won't be easy."
This will be the just the second meeting between the teams. The teams met on Dec. 30, 1989 at the Providence Civic Center with the Friars recording a 77-63 win. Asheville led 35-33 at halftime that night before PC rallied in the second half. The Friars were coached by Hickory native Rick Barnes that evening. Barnes first coaching job was under Biedenbach at Davidson in 1978.
- 1. This is the second straight year UNC Asheville has played a Big East team in a tournament. The Bulldogs fell to Connecticut last year in the opening game of the Battle "4" Atlantis Tournament, 73-63 at Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
- 2. Jeremy Atkinson is 10-of-12 (.833) from the field in the two games in Puerto Rico.
- 3. Asheville has allowed its last two opponents to shoot .500 percent from the three-point line (16-of-32). Akron was 12-of-24 from long distance on Friday.
- 4. The Bulldogs have lost three straight games for the first time since the early part of the 2010-11 season when Asheville lost at North Carolina, Georgetown and USC Upstate. The Dogs have not dropped four in a row since the 2009-10 season.
- 5. Junior guard Trent Meyer has 11 assists in the past two games.
- 6. Keith Hornsby scored a career-high 22 points against Akron. He is 13-of-18 (.722) from the field in the last two games.
- 7. Asheville goes home on Monday and will have a few days off before playing at N.C. State Friday night at 7 p.m.