NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Andrew Rowsey scored 35 points to lead UNC Asheville to a dramatic come-from-behind 80-76 victory at Big South preseason favorite Charleston Southern Saturday evening.
The Bulldogs (9-9, 3-1 BSC) trailed 73-62 with 4:33 left before out-scoring the Bucs 18-3 down the stretch to pull out the incredible win. Rowsey scored 11 points to lead the amazing comeback.
Rowsey’s 35 points were the second most points scored by an Asheville player in the Division I era. Van Wilkins scored 36 points for the Bulldogs against Western Carolina in the 1986-87 season.
Jaron Lane scored five points and his three-pointer in the first half gave him 1,000 career points. He becomes the 29th player in school history with 1,000 career points or more.
Rowsey was 10-of-16 from the field, 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. He was the only Bulldog in double figures as D.J. Cunningham just missed his third double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds. Cunningham moved into fifth place on Asheville’s career rebounding list as he now has 702 career rebounds.
“What a win. What a win,” exclaimed Asheville coach Nick McDevitt. “This is a terrific team win as our guys kept believing they could win. We beat a very good team on the road.
“Andrew Rowsey was just incredible,” added McDevitt. “He kept us in the game and then he found a way to get us a victory. Andrew was just phenomenal today.”
The Buccaneers (8-9, 2-2 BSC) were led by Saah Nimley with 19 points. Sheldon Strickland added 15 points.
Nimley’s free throw put CSU in front 74-65 with 3:57 left. Rowsey and Cunningham scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 74-69.
After a Buc miss, Rowsey hit a 25-footer to suddenly bring the Bulldogs within two at 74-72 at the 2:31 mark.
Nimley scored to give CSU a 76-72 lead with two minutes remaining but the Buccaneers would not score again.
Sam Hughes scored on a feed from Rowsey to make it 76-74. The Bulldogs got another stop off a Cunningham block.
Rowsey then hit a 27-footer while trying to draw a foul to push Asheville in front at 77-76.
The Bucs had two chances to take the lead but missed two close shots and Hughes came down with the rebound with 50 seconds left.
Asheville ran the shot clock down and David Robertson scored on a runner in the lane to give the Bulldogs a 79-76 lead at the 18-second mark.
Asheville won despite being out-rebounded 36-27 and out-scored 19-1 on second-chance points.
CSU went for the tie but Nimley missed two long three-pointers. Cunningham came down with the rebound with seven seconds left. Robertson was fouled at the four-second mark. He made the first free throw to seal Asheville’s first victory at the CSU Fieldhouse in five years.
UNC Asheville is in action again on Wednesday evening when the Bulldogs host Winthrop at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m.