ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville men's basketball team begins a two-game road trip Wednesday night when the Bulldogs travel to Presbyterian College for a battle with the Blue Hose in a South Division match-up that starts at 7 p.m.
Wednesday's game will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen via video-streaming under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Both teams are playing well right now. Asheville (11-10, 5-2 BSC) is on a three-game winning streak after a hard-fought 69-58 win over High Point Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena. The Blue Hose (5-16, 2-5 BSC) won for the second time in the last three games with an impressive 82-71 league win at Longwood on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are in second place in the South Division behind Charleston Southern (7-0). Asheville needs to keep winning to have any shot of catching the Bucs but face a tough opponent in Presbyterian College.
"We've got our work cut out for us Wednesday at Presbyterian," stated Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach. "Our guys had a tough time beating Longwood at home last week (a 68-65 win on Jan. 19) but Presbyterian went up there (Longwood) and won handily. Gregg Nibert (PC's head coach) always has his teams prepared and ready to play. We better be ready to play well Wednesday night for 40 minutes to have a chance at winning."
The Blue Hose faced a demanding non-conference schedule that saw them play seven of its first eight games away from home. Khalid Mutakabbir leads the PC attack with a 15.8 average. Jordan Dowling is averaging 13.3 points per game.
"Presbyterian's record is really deceiving," explained Biedenbach. "They really played a tough non-conference schedule which hurt them early, but you can see how much they've improved since the start of the season."
Senior forward Jeremy Atkinson continues to enjoy a great season for the Bulldogs. He enters Wednesday's game with a team-leading 16.9 scoring average and 7.9 rebounding mark. Jeremy got the Bulldog program some national attention when he hit a 65-footer at the end of the first half on Saturday. The shot was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter on Sunday and ranked the sixth best play of the day.
Sophomore guard Keith Hornsby is second on the team in scoring with a 14.4 average. His amazing streak of 45 straight free throws was finally snapped on Saturday when he missed a pair early in the second half. He started a new streak by hitting two straight late in the game to help seal the win. Keith is second nationally in free throw percentage at .940 (63-of-67).
Freshman forward Will Weeks is making a run at Big South Rookie of the Year honors with his play. He's been named Big South Freshman of the Week twice in the past three weeks. Weeks scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds vs. High Point on Saturday.
The Bulldogs finish up their road trip at Campbell Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
UNC Asheville has won five straight against the Blue Hose, including the last three meetings in Clinton, S.C. The Bulldogs are 6-1 against PC since the Blue Hose program joined the Big South Conference.
Asheville is 11-3 in Big South Conference road games over the past two seasons. However, the Bulldogs are 1-2 this year and have lost their last two, including a 74-68 decision at Charleston Southern two weeks ago (Jan. 16).
The Bulldogs are 30-4 in their last 34 games against Big South Conference opponents.
Asheville 10-4 after starting the season 1-6.
The Dogs are just 1-2 against South Division opponents and 0-2 on the road. Asheville is 4-0 vs. North Division opponents.
Junior center D.J. Cunningham leads the Big South and is 11th nationally in blocked shots with 59 and a 2.9 per game average.
Asheville is 11-1 when it out-rebounds its opponents.
Jeremy Atkinson has scored in double figures in 20 of 21 games this year. Keith Hornsby has scored in double digits in 12 of the last 13 contests.
The Bulldogs have shot 78 free throws (55-of-78) over the last three games, compared to just 30 to their opponents (20-for-30).