ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Saar Nimley scored 18 points, while Arlon Harper added 17 points as Charleston Southern downed UNC Asheville 73-65 in a Big South Conference showdown for first place in the South Division Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena.
The win by The Buccaneers (14-9, 9-3 BSC) put them into first-place in the South Division, a half-game in front of Asheville. CSU swept the season series from the Bulldogs for the first since the 2009-10 season.
The loss was Asheville's second straight, while the Bucs won for just the second time in the last five games.
The Bulldogs (15-12, 9-4 BSC) were led by a career-high 27 points from Trent Meyer. He went 7-of-12 from the three-point line and single-handedly kept Asheville in the game. Jeremy Atkinson added 15 points, while Keith Hornsby added 10 points. D.J. Cunningham came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds and block four shots.
Mathiang Muo added 11 points for CSU. The Buccaneers dominated the backboards as they out-rebounded Asheville 44-35 with a 24-13 advantage in the second half.
The visitors took control of the game midway through the second half. Meyer had scored 16 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to rally the Bulldogs from a seven-point deficit. Asheville led 58-57 with eight minutes left. CSU went on a 10-0 run to race to a 67-58 lead. Muo began the run with a long three-pointer and the run was ended by a Sexton lay-up with 3:51 left. The Bulldogs missed eight straight field goal attempts during the CSU run.
The Bulldogs could get no closer than the final margin.
In the first half, neither team could find a rhythm until the final three minutes. CSU got back-to-back treys from Nimley and Muo to put the Bucs in front 27-20. The Bulldogs countered with a 7-2 run in the final two minutes to cut the lead to 29-27 at halftime.
Meyer had 11 points in the first half. Nimley had 11 points in the opening half for the Bucs.
Asheville struggled from the field the whole game. The Bulldogs were just 25-of-66 from the field for .379. The home team went to the free throw a season-low nine times. Asheville was 6-of-9 from the line, while CSU was 5-of-10.
UNC Asheville travels to Coastal Carolina Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Charleston Southern returns home to begin a two-game homestand with Presbyterian College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.