ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Bulldogs are home Wednesday night to host Big South Conference South Division rival Winthrop at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m.
Wednesday's game will be broadcast on WWNC Radio (570-AM) starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be video-streamed and can be seen for a small fee under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
The game with Winthrop is being sponsored by Zaxby's and two fans will have a chance to win a catered meal from Zaxby's.
The Bulldogs bring a five-game winning streak into tonight's game after winning two league road games last week. Asheville edged Presbyterian College last Wednesday night, 77-74 before downing Campbell in Buies Creek on Saturday, 78-61. Winthrop has won two straight and three of its last four games. The Eagles downed Liberty Saturday night in Rock Hill, 66-56.
The Eagles are under the direction of first-year coach Pat Kelsey and have shown a great deal of improvement from last season. Winthrop is playing great defense as its limiting opponents to just 60.5 points per game and .414 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Derrick Henry paces the Eagle attack with an 11.8 average. Gideon Gamble is averaging 9.8 points per game, while Andre Smith is filling up from the outside with 40 made 3-pointers. Winthrop owns impressive non-conference victories over Ohio University and Auburn.
"Winthrop has a good team and is playing some good basketball," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "Any team that walks into Ohio University and wins has to have a talented team. The next game they almost beat Ohio State right after we played them. Winthrop plays very good defense and shoots the ball exceptionally well from the three-point line.
"We always have tough games with Winthrop. Our guys are going to have to be able to grind things out on both offense and defense," added Biedenbach.
Jeremy Atkinson leads the Bulldogs in scoring (17.3) and rebounding (7.5). Keith Hornsby is second on the team in scoring with a 14.5 average. He's second in the nation in free throw shooting at .932 (68-of-73). Junior center D.J. Cunningham leads the Big South and is 12th nationally in blocked shots with a 2.9 per game average.
UNC Asheville will play at VMI Friday night in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
One of the best rivalries in the Big South Conference is between UNC Asheville-Winthrop. The Eagles lead the all-time series 33-30, but the Bulldogs swept the season series last year for the first time four years. Asheville won 73-68 in overtime in Rock Hill before downing the Eagles, 67-55 at Kimmel Arena in the final regular season game of the season. Winthrop's last win in the series came two years ago at Justice Center as it became the last Big South team to defeat the Bulldogs at Justice with a 55-51 victory. Earlier that year had seen Asheville down the Eagles 88-67 in Rock Hill. The Dogs have won five of the last seven meetings.
UNC Asheville hopes to continue its winning ways at home in Big South Conference play. The Bulldogs have won 11 consecutive games against Big South Conference opponents at Kimmel Arena dating back to last season and have won those games by an average margin of 17.2 points. Asheville is 15-1 all-time at Kimmel Arena against BSC opponents, including last year's Big South Tournament. The Bulldogs are 8-1 overall at Kimmel this season.
The Bulldogs have won 12 of their last 16 games after beginning the season 1-6.
Asheville is 32-4 in its last 36 games against Big South Conference teams.
Jeremy Atkinson has scored in double figures in 22 of 23 games this year. Dating back to last season, he's scored in double figures in 30 of the last 31 games.
Keith Hornsby has scored in double figures in 15 of the last 16 games.
D.J. Cunningham is 15-of-20 from the field in his last two games.