ASHEVILLE, N.C – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team returns home Wednesday night when the Bulldogs welcome South Division rival Charleston Southern to Kimmel Arena for a key Big South Conference battle starting at 7 p.m.
Wednesday’s game can be heard on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game can also be seen on the Big South Digital Network for free under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (13-13, 7-5 BSC) hopes to end a two-game losing streak and keep hope alive for a first-place finish in the South Division. The Bulldogs are in a three-way tie for second place in the South, two games behind Coastal Carolina (9-3). Asheville hosts the Chanticleers Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Charleston Southern (11-14, 5-7 BSC) was the preseason favorite to win the Big South after winning last year’s regular-season title. The Buccaneers have had to battle through some injuries this season but appear to be healthy going into the final two weeks of the regular season. CSU whipped Winthrop 84-64 Saturday in Charleston before losing a close 76-70 decision at High Point on Monday.
The teams played back on Jan. 18 in Charleston with Asheville rallying for an 80-76 victory behind 35 points from Andrew Rowsey. The Bulldogs trailed by 11 with seven minutes left before Rowsey led an amazing comeback for the win.
Asheville is trying to get back on the winning track after a frustrating 72-71 loss at Presbyterian College Saturday night. The Bulldogs led most of the way before a Reggie Dillard three-pointer put the Blue Hose in front for good.
“We need to sharpen up our defense and do a better job on the boards,” admitted Bulldog coach Nick McDevitt. “In our last two losses, we’ve done the job on offense but just haven’t got the job defensively and allowed too many second shots.”
McDevitt expects to get CSU’s best shot on Wednesday.
“We were fortunate to win down at Charleston Southern last month, and I’m sure they’re anxious to play us again,” commented McDevitt. “We’ve always had a tough time with them over the past few years because they’ve been a pretty good team. They have athletic guards, a good inside game and have a lot of depth. We’ll need to be at our best Wednesday night.”
Charleston Southern has won three of the four past games against the Bulldogs in the regular season. The Bucs are 2-0 against Asheville at Kimmel Arena during the regular season, including a 73-65 decision last year.
UNC Asheville is 11-6 since starting the season 1-7.
The Bulldogs are 21-4 against Big South Conference opponents at Kimmel Arena. However, CSU is 2-1 against the Dogs here.
Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in a Big South-leading 22 straight games.
D.J. Cunningham became the school’s career leader in blocked shots and has 256 entering the CSU contest. He is fourth nationally in blocks with a 3.62 per game average.
Jaron Lane has scored in double figures in eight straight games and is averaging seven rebounds per game in the last three contests.
The Bulldogs have been outscored in the second half in five of the last six games.
Asheville leads the Big South in free throw percentage at .742.
The Bulldogs are averaging 80.4 points in league games.