ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs finish their three-game homestand on Saturday at Kimmel Arena when they host Big South rival High Point starting at 2 p.m.
Saturday's game will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show beginning at 1:30 p.m. The can also be seen via video-streaming for a small fee at www.uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.
Asheville's game with the Panthers will be presented by Mission Health. It's a Signature Saturday as Bulldog players will sign autographs after the game. And Saturday contest will also be the annual Coaches vs. Cancer suits and sneakers game. Both coaching staffs will turn awareness into action by swapping their dress shoes for sneakers to finish the fight against cancer.
Both teams are in second place in their respective divisions and hope to get a little closer to first place with a win today. Asheville has picked up two straight three-point wins and improved to 4-2 in the South Division. The Bulldogs moved into second place with a 63-60 win over Coastal Carolina on Wednesday night. They trail Charleston Southern by two games as the Bucs are 6-0 in league play. High Point has won three of its last four games and routed VMI at home Wednesday night, 96-69 to move into a tie for second place in the North Division with the Keydets at 4-2. Both squads are just a game behind Campbell (5-1).
Asheville edged Coastal Carolina Wednesday night, 63-60 at Kimmel Arena. Jeremy Atkinson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and nine rebounds. Last Saturday, the Dogs slipped past Longwood, 69-66. Each game came down to the final possession with the opposing team missing a last-second three-pointer.
"We did a nice job on defense in the second half against Coastal Carolina," commented Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach. "I like the way we battled on the boards and fought to get the victory. We still have to work hard and get better with each game."
Biedenbach expects a very tough game from an improving High Point squad. The Panthers are being led by talented freshman forward John Brown. Brown is third in the Big South in scoring with a 17.9 average and shooting .519 from the field. He is a tough match-up for anybody in the league. Forward Allan Chaney averages 14.6 points per game and shoots .542 (90-of-166) from the field.
"High Point is a very good team," explained Biedenbach. "They're playing quite well right now. I was very impressed with the win they had at Winthrop a few weeks ago and how they beat VMI Wednesday night. High Point is quite athletic and does a great job on the boards. We'll have to play extremely well to have a chance at winning on Saturday."
Saturday's game ends a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs. Asheville plays at Presbyterian College Wednesday night and Campbell next Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs next home game is with Winthrop on Feb. 6.
The Bulldogs have a 26-17 series advantage against High Point and 18-14 mark since the Panthers joined the Big South Conference. Asheville won all three meetings last season, including an 86-61 decision in the quarterfinals of the Big South Tournament. The Bulldogs have won their last five games against the Panthers and are 9-2 vs. High Point in the last 11 games. Prior to this stretch, the Panthers controlled the series as they went 9-3 against Asheville from the 2003-04 season until the 2007-08 campaign. High Point eliminated the Bulldogs in the 2002, 2004 and 2005 Big South Conference Tournaments. Asheville has knocked out High Point in the last three BSC tourneys.
UNC Asheville has won 11 consecutive Big South Conference home games dating back to last season. The Bulldogs are 14-1 against league opponents at Kimmel Arena. Overall, Asheville is 21-3 at Kimmel Arena.
Asheville is 29-4 against Big South Conference teams dating back to the end of the 2010-11 season.
After beginning the year 1-6, the Bulldogs are 9-4 since the first month of the season. Asheville is at .500 (10-10) for first time since being 1-1 in the first week of the year.
Sophomore guard Keith Hornsby leads the nation in free throw shooting at .968 (61-of-63). He has made 45 consecutive free throws and has not missed a free throw in any Big South Conference games (25-of-25).
Junior center D.J. Cunningham leads the Big South Conference in blocked shots with 56 and his 2.95 per game average is 11th best nationally.
The Bulldogs have had 20 turnovers or more in five games this year but are 4-1 in those games, including Wednesday's 63-60 win over Coastal Carolina when they had 20.
Asheville is 3-0 vs. North Division opponents this year. The Bulldogs have won their last 19 games against teams from the North over the past two seasons.
Sophomore guard Trent Meyer is averaging 48.4 percent from beyond the arc and 2.5 3FG in Big South action.