ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team goes back on the road Friday night when the Bulldogs travel to College of Charleston for a date with the Cougars at TD Arena starting at 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s game can be heard via audio-streaming for free at uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.
Asheville is 0-2 on the season after a frustrating 74-67 loss at Western Carolina Monday night. The Bulldogs trailed by 15 in the first half before making several runs at the Catamounts in the second half but falling short.
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey was a bright spot in defeat with 24 points as he knocked down six 3-pointers. Senior center D.J. Cunningham added a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The games only get tougher as Asheville battles a Cougar (1-1) squad that is coming off an emotional 83-82 win over Charlotte at home Tuesday night. Charleston trailed by 10 late in the game but made an incredible comeback to win in the final seconds.
“College of Charleston is a very talented team that doesn’t lose too many home games,” stated first-year coach Nick McDevitt. “We can’t have a first-half like we did against Western Carolina and expect to have a chance at winning. We’ll need to be at our best Friday night.”
Asheville is beginning the season with eight games away from Kimmel Arena. The Bulldogs will participate in the Pre-Season NIT starting Monday night. They’ll face Duke Monday and either East Carolina or Norfolk State on Tuesday. McDevitt’s club will play two games the following week in the Pre-Season NIT before ending the road trip at Charlotte on Dec. Asheville’s first home game isn’t until Dec. 12 against Bluefield.
The Bulldogs and Cougars are playing on the hardwood for the second time in three years. Charleston edged Asheville two years ago in the second round of the Battle “4” Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas, 68-66 when Asheville couldn’t get a last-second shot off. This will be the Bulldogs first ever game at TD Arena and first time they’ve played a road game at College of Charleston since the 1990-91 season.
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey leads Asheville in scoring with an 18.0 average. Senior center D.J. Cunningham is second in scoring (13.0) and leads in rebounding (11.0). He has been in double figures for rebounds in both games this season and is shooting .643 (9-of-14) from the field. Sophomore forward Will Weeks is averaging 13 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Series: The schools have only met seven times on the hardwood with Asheville holding a 4-3 edge. However, two of those wins occurred in the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons. This is the second time in the last three years the teams have squared off with the Cougars edging Asheville, 68-66 in the second round of the Battle “4” Atlantis Tournament at Paradise Island, Bahamas. Tonight’s game is the first time the Bulldogs have ever played at TD Arena and is the first time Asheville has played a road game at the College of Charleston since Jan. 7, 1991 when the Cougars edged the Dogs, 70-69. The Bulldogs last win the series came on Feb. 20, 1991 when Asheville rallied for a 62-56 victory at Justice Center.
D.J.’s Block Party: Red-shirt senior center D.J. Cunningham tied for the Big South lead and was eighth nationally in blocked shots last season. He blocked 3.0 per shot per game and tied a single-season record for blocks with 93. Cunningham blocked two at Kentucky to open the season had four more blocks at Western Carolina Monday night. He has a career total of 186 blocks and is third all-time at Asheville in career blocks. He needs five to pass C.J. Walker (190) into second place
Winning Ways: UNC Asheville has been the winningest team in the Big South Conference over the past three years. The Bulldogs have posted a 60-40 overall record over the last three years with two Big South Conference championships and one regular-season title. In Big South Conference play, Asheville has gone 37-15 in league contests during this period.
Rousing with Rowsey: Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey enjoyed an incredible high school career at Rockbridge HS in Lexington, Va. He was the 2013 Virginia High School Player of the Year with a 35.8 scoring average and scored 2,637 career points, the second highest in the state of Virginia. Rowsey has been ready to play from the start and has been the Bulldogs starter in the backcourt right away. He led Asheville with 17 points vs. Brevard in the exhibition tilt on Nov. 4 before tallying 12 points at Kentucky (11-9) last Friday night. Rowsey led an Asheville comeback at Western Carolina with a game-high 24 points. The rookie guard showed his range from the outside against the Cats by going 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. He enters tonight’s game as Asheville’s leading scorer with an 18.0 scoring average and is shooting .412 (7-of-17) from the three-point line. The 24 points he scored against Western Carolina is the most points scored by a freshman at UNC Asheville since K.J. Garland scored 27 at Iowa during the 2003-04 season.
Bulldogs vs. CAA: Asheville will play twice against Colonial Athletic Association clubs this season. Tonight the Bulldogs face the College of Charleston who is in its first year of membership. On Dec. 28, Asheville hosts UNC Wilmington at Kimmel Arena. The Bulldogs went 1-1 against the CAA last year losing at Wilmington, 67-59 early in the season and then picking up one of their bigger wins of the year when they won at CAA champion Northeastern, 79-73 in Asheville’s first ever trip to Boston.
Bulldog Picked 4th in Big South Preseason Poll: The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team is a preseason pick to finish in fourth place in the Big South Conference’s South Division according to the league’s preseason panel. The conference announced its preseason poll and preseason honors this afternoon at the league’s annual media day.Defending South Division champion Charleston Southern was the preseason pick to win the South again and win the 2014 Big South Conference championship. CSU was followed by Gardner-Webb, Coastal Carolina, UNC Asheville, Winthrop and Presbyterian College.