MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Behind 19 points from J.P. Primm and 18 from Matt Dickey, the No. 3 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs defeated No. 7 seed High Point, 62-45 in the first Semifinal of the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship. Asheville advances to its first title game since 2008 and will play No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. Asheville reaches the Big South Championship Game for the seventh time, the second-most in Big South Tournament history.
Nick Barbour of High Point finished with a game-high 21 points. He also added four rebounds and a steal. Shay Shine had nine points and four rebounds in the game while Travis Elliott and Earnest Bridges pulled down six boards each. Xavier Martin totaled six points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals for the Panthers
Asheville held an early 6-2 lead before the Panthers went on a 17-3 run to move ahead 19-9. Barbour knocked down two straight treys to give the Panthers the 10-point lead that forced the Bulldogs to call timeout. But Asheville responded with 17-3 run of its own. Primm led the spurt with three treys as Asheville regained the lead at 26-22 and eventually led at the break, 28-26. Primm kept Asheville in the game in the first half with 13 points. He went 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Barbour was High Point's leader with 10 points.
The Panthers remained in striking distance during the first eight minutes of the second half, with High Point's Elliott making it a four-point affair at 37-33 with 12:12 remaining. But the Bulldogs then used a 12-3 run to pull away for good. Barbour snapped an eight-minute scoreless streak for HPU with a three pointer at 5:33 to make the score 49-36, but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs finished with a 36-31 rebounding advantage and out-scored the Panthers 28-20 in the paint. Asheville forced 14 HPU turnovers that resulted in 18 Asheville points.
UNC Asheville Head Coach Eddie Biedenbach
"Tournament time is a special time of year for all of these teams. All the hard work we put in and then to get to the finals is a very special thing. I am so proud of our guys this season. They have played so well together, playing really good defense and on man-to-man. They have been great in the zone too. They have worked harder and harder together, communicated better and we have come so far from the beginning of the season to now."
High Point Head Coach Scott Cherry
"I want to start off by thanking my three seniors; these guys have been the best. They are great kids and great representatives of our school and our team. This game we just could not our offense together, we just could not get off to a good start. We played well enough defensively holding them to 62 points. We had some good shots, but sometimes the shots just don't fall. I can't be any more prouder of this team and our hard work will pay off for us in the future."