ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team finally gets to play its first home game of the season Thursday when the Bulldogs host NAIA foe Bluefield College at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m.
Thursday’s game can be heard locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen for free on the Big South Digital Network under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com.
Prior to Thursday’s game, UNC Asheville will be hosting Barbeque, Beer and Bulldogs event from 5-6:45 p.m. as participating restaurants and craft breweries will serve small portions of their award-winning barbeque and beer to Bulldog fans. A ticket of $25 gets you into both the tasting and the game.
The Bulldogs (1-7) have been off for exams after losing at Charlotte on Dec. 1, 77-56. Asheville has had to battle through a lot of injuries in the early part of the season. First-year coach Nick McDevitt was pleased that his team has had some time off from games.
“We needed a break and it’s come at a good time,” stated McDevitt. “We’ve gotten a little healthier and rested up and now we’re anxious to play a game again.”
McDevitt expects a tough battle from a Bluefield squad that is 5-2 on the season and won four straight games.
“We better be ready to play because Bluefield has a nice team,” explained McDevitt. “They’re well-coached and play together. We’re going to have to be at our best to have a chance at winning. This will be a tough game.”
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey leads the Bulldogs in scoring with a 14.8 average. He has scored in double figures in seven of Asheville’s eight games. Senior forward Jaron Lane is coming on lately and has a 12.3 scoring average. He scored a career-high 23 points at Charlotte on Dec. 1.
Senior center D.J. Cunningham is doubtful for Thursday’s game as he recovers from a knee injury. He has an 11.2 scoring average and had been grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game. Cunningham has missed the last three games.
Bluefield is led by senior guard Kearsten Marion with a 15.7 scoring average. The Rams inside game is led by Eastern Illinois transfer Alex Lubsey. He has a 14.2 scoring mark and is bringing down 7.3 rebounds per game.
UNC Asheville Notes
The Bulldogs are 26-6 all-time at Kimmel Arena.
Asheville is 2-0 all-time against Bluefield and won last year’s meeting 92-63.
Sophomore forward Will Weeks is out for the season with a knee injury.
D.J. Cunningham needs one rebound to reach 600 for his career.
Asheville has won 25 consecutive regular-season games against non-Division I foes.
Reserve center Chudier Pal has grabbed 15 rebounds in the last two games.
Sam Hughes is averaging 15 points per game in the last five contests. His .474 (9-of-19) shooting from long range is seventh in the Big South.
After not playing at home for five weeks, the Bulldogs will play five of their next six games at Kimmel Arena.