ASHEVILLE, N.C. – UNC Asheville placed four players in doubles figures as the Bulldogs held off Charleston Southern, 82-71 in Big South Conference action at Kimmel Arena Wednesday night.
Andrew Rowsey led Asheville (14-13, 8-5 BSC) with 24 points, while Jaron Lane added 22 points. D.J. Cunningham enjoyed his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Corey Littlejohn finished with 13 points and a career-high seven assists.
Charleston Southern (11-15, 5-8 BSC) trailed by 25 points early in the second half only to carve the lead to eight points with three minutes left in the contest. Sheldon Strickland scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second stanza.
Will Sanders contributed with 14 points. Matt Kennedy chipped in 12 points for the Buccaneers.
The win moved the Bulldogs to a game of first place in the South Division as Coastal Carolina (9-4) fell at Winthrop. Asheville hosts the Chanticleers Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Blue & White is in a three-way for second place with Winthrop and Gardner-Webb.
Asheville and CSU was tied at 25-25 before the Bulldogs took charge of the game with a 20-1 run in the final six minutes of the opening half. Lane led the late run with nine points. The Buccaneers missed their final seven shots of the game and turned the ball over five times. Two free throws from Jaleel Roberts pushed the Dogs to a 45-26 halftime lead.
The Bucs shot just .242 (8-of-33) from the field in the first half and 19 percent (3-of-16) from beyond the arc.
Rowsey led Asheville with 13 points in the first half, followed by 11 points from Lane.
In the second half, the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to race to a 57-32 lead at the 15:24 mark on a lay-up from Littlejohn.
Rowsey knocked down a three-pointer to give the home team a 63-39 lead when CSU began to rally. At 66-43, the Bucs scored 11 straight points to close to 66-57 on two free throws from Kennedy at the 8:48 mark.
The Bulldogs were able to keep the Bucs within striking distance as Lane scored eight points in the final four minutes.
Asheville shot 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field in the second half and from the three-point line (4-of-8). CSU also shot 50 percent (5-of-10) from beyond the arc.
Lane went 7-of-11 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He also collected seven rebounds and had three steals with two blocked shots.
UNC Asheville hosts Coastal Carolina Saturday afternoon in a first-place showdown at Kimmel Arena at 2 p.m. Charleston Southern travels to Presbyterian College Saturday evening at 7 p.m.