ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team returns home to face its first Big South Conference opponent at Kimmel Arena when the Bulldogs host Presbyterian College on Saturday starting at 2 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 1:30 p.m. Fans can watch the game for free on the Big South Digital Network under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (7-8, 1-0 BSC) opened league play with a win for the ninth straight year with an exciting 81-77 victory at Gardner-Webb Wednesday night. Jaron Lane scored a career-high 26 points Wednesday, including 19 points in the second half. The win was the Bulldogs sixth in the last seven games.
The Blue Hose (4-12, 0-1 BSC) fell at home to Winthrop, 71-67. Presbyterian College trailed most of the way and by 10 with 1:30 before making a frantic rally in the final minute of play that almost produced a victory. PC is led by junior guard Jordan Dowling with a 19.4 average. He is deadly from the three-point line (40-of-100). William Truss is averaging 12 points per game and had an 8.9 rebounding mark.
Asheville is looking to go 2-0 in league play for the second time in three years. The Bulldogs have won the last eight meetings against PC, but first-year coach Nick McDevitt expects a tough game from the Blue Hose on Saturday.
“We had a great win on Wednesday night at Gardner-Webb, but we have to turn the page and be ready to play a dangerous team in Presbyterian,” commented McDevitt. “Presbyterian has some very talented players and played a tough non-conference schedule. We’ll need to be focused and play hard for 40 minutes.”
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey leads the Bulldogs in scoring with a 16.1 average. He leads Asheville in three-pointers made (44), free throw percentage .792 (42-of-53) and assists (33). Lane is second on the club in scoring with a 13.4 mark. D.J. Cunningham has a 10.4 scoring average and leads the Big South in rebounding (9.0) and blocked shots (3.4).
The game with the Blue Hose ends a stretch where the Bulldogs played six of their last eight games at Kimmel Arena. Asheville hits the road next week for two BSC games in the state of South Carolina as the Dogs will play at Coastal Carolina (Jan. 15) and preseason favorite Coastal Carolina (Jan. 18).
The Bulldogs are 30-7 all-time at Kimmel Arena and have been especially tough to beat in Big South Conference action. Asheville is 17-3 against Big South Conference opponents at Kimmel Arena. This is just the second time PC has played here. And ironically it was the Bulldogs last Big South Conference contest. The teams met in the final home of the season last year with Asheville recording a 74-62 victory.
Jaron Lane is closing in on 1,000 career points. After his career-high 26 points on Wednesday at Gardner-Webb, the senior forward had 971 career points entering Saturday’s contest.
Asheville is 15-5 vs. Presbyterian College and 9-1 vs. the Blue Hose since PC joined the Big South Conference.
Senior center D.J. Cunningham has moved into seventh place on Asheville’s career list for rebounds with 661. He needs 24 to move past former teammate John Williams (684). D.J. is in second place in career blocked shots with 221. He’s chasing Williams for the all-time leader at Asheville. Williams is the school’s leader with 255.
The Bulldogs are starting an all-freshman backcourt in Andrew Rowsey and David Robertson. Since the duo became starters, Asheville is 6-3.
Asheville is 69-34 in Big South Conference games over the last six seasons.
Jaron Lane has either tied a career high or set a new career in points in three of the last eight games. He has scored in double figures in nine of the last 11 games.
D.J. Cunningham leads the Bulldogs in double-doubles with four this season. He’s second in the Big South in that category.
Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in 14 of 15 games this year.
Asheville leads the Big South in free throw percentage at .734 (246-of-355).
The Bulldogs are second in the league in field goal percentage defense (.411) and three-point defense (.294).
Asheville is second in the Big South in blocked shots (5.8) with 87.