RADFORD, Va. – The UNC Asheville Bulldogs hit the road Thursday night for a nationally-televised Big South battle with Radford at the Dedmon Center starting at 7 p.m.
Thursday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m.
Asheville (13-11, 7-3 BSC) looks to build on a three-game winning streak and stay in first place in the Big South’s Southern Division. The Bulldogs are tied for first with Coastal Carolina, pending the Chanticleers game Wednesday night with VMI.
Nick McDevitt’s club is coming off a dramatic 75-72 win over Liberty Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena. The Dogs led by 19 early in the second half, trailed by three late before finding a way to get the victory. Jaron Lane scored a career-high 29 points in the victory. Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey chipped in 23 points.
Asheville has a big challenge in facing a rapidly-improving Radford program. The Highlanders are coached by Mike Jones and he has Radford ready to make a run at a Big South title. RU has been totally rebuilt under his leadership and will bring a 16-9 overall record and 6-4 mark in league play into Thursday’s contest. The Highlanders are tied for second in the North Division, one game behind VMI. They’ve won three of their last four games entering Thursday’s action with all the wins on the road.
“Radford has a very good team and is well-coached by Mike Jones,” stated McDevitt. “They have a great backcourt that is going to be very hard for us to defend. Radford has road wins at High Point, Winthrop and Charleston Southern plus some impressive non-conference wins.
“We were fortunate to not play well in stretches against Liberty on Saturday and still find a way to win,” added McDevitt. “Our guys are going to have to be at their best Thursday at Radford to have a chance at winning. We’re very impressed with Radford.”
The Bulldogs are being led this year by freshman guard Andrew Rowsey with an 18.9 scoring average. He’s averaged 28.5 points over the last four games. Senior forward Jaron Lane is next with a 14.9 average. Senior center D.J. Cunningham has a 10.3 mark. He leads the Big South in rebounding (9.4) and blocked shots (3.7). His 3.7 per game mark is third nationally.
Radford is led by junior guard Javonte Green with a 16.7 scoring average. R.J. Price is averaging 12.4 points per game. Ya Ya Anderson has knocked down 54 treys and is averaging 11.1 points per outing.
Asheville leads the all-time series 33-29 and has won the last six meetings. However, the teams have played just once at the Dedmon Center in the last five games. Two years ago a veteran Bulldog team had to scramble in the last four minutes of the contest to record a 66-56 victory. The game was tied late before Asheville scored the final 10 points of the game to pick up victory.
The Bulldogs stay on the road Saturday night when they travel to South Division rival Presbyterian for a 7:45 tip. Saturday’s game will be broadcast by ESPN3.
UNC Asheville is 12-4 since beginning the season 1-7.
The Bulldogs are 23-10 in their last 33 road games against Big South Conference opponents. Asheville is 3-2 this season and has won those three games by a total of nine points.
Six of the Bulldogs’ BSC games this year have been decided by four points or less. Asheville is 4-2 in those games.
Senior center D.J. Cunningham enters Thursday’s game with 251 career blocked shots. He needs just five to become the school’s all-time leader and surpass former teammate John Williams (255).
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in a Big South-leading 20 consecutive games.
D.J. Cunningham has 732 career rebounds. He has moved into fourth place on Asheville’s career list and is the Division I all-time leader. Cunningham is one of just two players in Big South history to have more than 700 rebounds and 200 blocked shots.
Asheville is 3-2 against the North Division this year after going 6-0 last season.
The Bulldogs have shot at least 41 percent from the three-point line in the last seven games. Asheville was 9-of-20 against Liberty on Saturday, going 9-for-13 in the first half but 0-of-7 in the second half.
Asheville has shot at 48 percent from the field in six of the last seven contests.
The Bulldogs are 4-7 when they’re out-rebounded but are 4-1 in BSC games.