CONWAY, S.C. - UNC ASHEVILLE IS GOING DANCING!!!!!!
The Bulldogs held Coastal Carolina scoreless over the final four minutes as Asheville stunned the Chanticleers on their homecourt, 60-47. Asheville won its third ever Big South Conference Championship and now advances to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs will find out who they're matched up with on March 13 on Selection Sunday.
Matt Dickey was named Tournament MVP with 12 points, including a crucial three-pointer late in the game. John Williams, who made the all-tournament team, added 10 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. The six blocks is a new tournament record. J.P. Primm also made the all-tournament and had seen points and two assists.
Chris Stephenson came up big with 14 points and eight rebounds. Jaron Lane finished with 13 points.
Asheville' (19-13) defense limited the Chanticleers to just 34 percent (16-of-47) from the field. The Bulldogs forced 21 CCU turnovers as Asheville had 10 steals.
"I'm very proud of this team," stated Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We made a commitment to defense and our defense was just tremendous today. Coastal Carolina is a great team and for us to win this championship is a great feeling."
Chad Gray scored the Chanticleers final points on a lay-up with 4:19 left to cut the Asheville lead to 50-47. Coastal Carolina forced a steal and had a chance to get within one or tie but Anthony Rafa was called for an intentional technical foul, sending Dickey to the free throw line. The junior guard went 1-of-2 from line to give the Dogs a 51-47 lead.
Then came the two biggest plays of the game. Rafra drove the lane with two minutes but Williams blocked Rafa's lay-up attempt and snagged the rebounds. With the shot clock winding down, Dickey connected on his only three-pointer of the game as Asheville led 54-47 at the 1:38 mark.
The Bulldogs got another stop and ran some time off the clock. Lane helps seal the game when he rebounded a missed shot and dunked to push the lead to 56-47 with 49 seconds left. Two free throws from Stephenson and another dunk from Lane gave Asheville the 13-point win.
The Bulldogs showed they were ready from the start. Asheville quickly jumped out to a 6-1 lead and padded the lead to 16-6 at the 10:31 mark on a jumper from Stephenson. Asheville forced seven early Coastal Carolina turnovers in the first nine minutes.
Primm's three-point gave the Dogs their biggest lead of the half at 19-8. Coastal Carolina began to rally and got the lead down to five on a three-pointer from Brandon Crawford at 23-18. The Bulldogs would not the Chanticleers get any closer. Williams scored on a follow dunk to give Asheville a 29-22 halftime lead.