ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Jaron Lane scored 22 points and four other UNC Asheville players scored in double figures as the Bulldogs downed Big South Conference rival Winthrop 81-66 at Kimmel Arena Wednesday night.
Asheville (10-9, 4-1 BSC) won for the ninth time in its last 11 games. The Bulldogs were also able to win without starting center D.J. Cunningham who missed the game with the flu. Cunningham leads the Big South in rebounding (9.9) and blocked shots (50).
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey added 17 points for the home team. Sam Hughes chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. David Robertson contributed 11 points, while 7-0 center Jaleel Roberts finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Eagles (9-8, 3-2 BSC) were led by Joab Jerome with 13 points. Andre Smith added 12 points, while Josh Davenport chipped in 10 points.
The Bulldogs led from start to finish and used a dominating first half to improve to 19-3 against BSC teams at Kimmel Arena.
An early 12-2 run put the home team in front 19-6 as Robertson and Rowsey hit back-to-back treys. Winthrop rallied with eight straight points to close to 19-14 on a trey from Smith at the 9:58 mark.
But that was close as the Eagles would get the rest of the contest. Asheville went on a 16-2 run over the next four minutes getting points from six different players to race to a 35-16 on a long trey from Corey Littlejohn.
The Bulldogs would lead by as much as 22 points before setting for a 47-28 halftime lead.
Asheville shot .600 (15-of-25) from the field in the opening half and .583 (7-of-12) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs outscored the Eagles 30-11 in the paint and had a 20-3 advantage in fast-break points. All eight players who played for Asheville in the first half scored. Robertson and Rowsey scored nine points each for the Bulldogs.
In the second half, a three-point play from Hughes put Asheville in front, 63-41 with 9:39 left before Winthrop rallied.
The Eagles used some hot three-point shooting and some aggressive defense to make a charge at the Bulldogs. A tap-in by Josh Davenport cut the Bulldog lead to 70-62 with 3:21 left.
But Lane scored Asheville’s next five points to keep Winthrop at bay as the Bulldogs hit enough free throws to win their second straight game.
The Eagles forced 11 turnovers in the second half and outscored the home team 15-4 on points off turnovers. Winthrop also outscored Asheville 30-15 in the paint.
The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Eagles, 47-29 and went 25-of-33 from the free throw line. Lane was 6-of-9 from the field and 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.
UNC Asheville travels to High Point Saturday night at 7 p.m., while Winthrop hosts VMI on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Asheville improves to 32-7 all-time at Kimmel Arena…the Bulldogs have scored at least 80 points in four of their five BSC games…Jaron Lane scored 22 points and now has 1,022 career points and is in 28th place on Asheville’s career rebounding list….the Bulldogs have led at intermission in 10 of the last 11 games…Asheville has led by at least 10 points at home in every game with the exception of a six-point lead against Virginia Intermont on Dec. 20…Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in a Big South-leading 15 straight games…with D.J. Cunningham out, the Bulldogs used their eighth different starting lineup with freshman Giacomo Zilli starting at center.