MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team will try to earn a trip to the Big South Conference championship game for the third time in the last four years when the Bulldogs take on Winthrop Saturday at Noon in the semifinals of the league championship at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 11:30 a.m. Fans can also watch the game on ESPN3.
The Bulldogs (17-14) advanced to the semifinals for the seventh time in eight years with a 96-87 victory over Radford Friday afternoon. Jaron Lane tied a career-high with 29 points, while Andrew Rowsey added 27 points. Senior center D.J. Cunningham had 18 points and tied a Big South Tournament record with 19 rebounds. The 19 rebounds is a UNC Asheville Division I record.
Winthrop advanced to the semifinals with a dramatic 62-60 win over top-seed High Point Friday. Andre Smith hit a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to give the Eagles the incredible win.
The teams split games during the regular season. Asheville won at home, 81-66 at Kimmel Arena on Jan. 22. Winthrop rallied for a 107-100 overtime victory in Rock Hill 10 days ago as the Eagles came back from being down by nine points with 56 seconds left in regulation.
This will be the 10th meeting between the teams in BSC tournament action. Winthrop holds a 5-4 advantage and the teams have split two semifinal meetings. The last tournament contest came in 2009 when the Bulldogs downed the Eagles 76-68 in the quarterfinals at Justice Center.
The winner of Saturday’s semifinal game will take on the Coastal Carolina-VMI winner Sunday at Noon for the league championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
UNC Asheville is 16-7 since starting the season 1-7.
Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in 30 of 31 games this season and will bring a streak of 27 straight double-figure scoring games into Saturday’s game.
The Bulldogs are averaging 92.2 points per game over the last five games.
Asheville is 8-9 in BSC semifinal tournament games as the Bulldogs have won their last two semifinal games in 2011 and 2012.
Jaron Lane has scored 20 points or more in nine of the last 13 games and five consecutive games.
D.J. Cunningham has 10 double-doubles on the season and has scored in double figures in five straight games. He collected his 800th career rebound on Friday and has 808 rebounds.
Asheville has been at 50 percent or better from the three-point line in the last three games.