ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Keith Hornsby and Jeremy Atkinson combined for 41 points as UNC Asheville outlasted Winthrop 69-56 in Big South Conference action Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (14-10, 8-2 BSC) won their sixth straight game and moved into first place in the South Division as Charleston Southern (7-2) fell at Coastal Carolina on Wednesday.
Asheville was led by Hornsby's 21 points. He was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line. Atkinson added 20 points, 15 in the second half. Reserve forward Jon Nwannunu came off the bench to spark the home team with 11 points, eight in the first half.
The Eagles (10-12, 4-6 BSC) were led by Derrick Henry's 15 points and six rebounds. Larry Brown added 11 points and six rebounds.
Asheville trailed the entire first half and the first part of the second half. The Bulldogs scored six straight points midway through the second half to take the lead for good at 43-38.
Leading 43-41, Atkinson scored the next nine points of the game to put the Bulldogs in front 50-41 with 9:30 remaining.
The Bulldogs would not allow the Eagles to get closer than six the rest of the game. Asheville went 23-of-24 from the free throw line in the second half (.958) to allow the Bulldogs to hold on for the win.
Winthrop led the entire first half. The Eagles defense limited the Bulldogs to just three field goals in the first nine minutes of the game. James Bourne put Winthrop in front 22-11 with 6:33 left.
The Bulldogs rallied in the final six minutes as Asheville's full-court press allowed the home team to go on a 16-6 run to cut the lead to 28-27 at intermission.
D.J. Cunningham led the Asheville effort in the second half as he pulled down nine of his 11 rebounds. He blocked five Winthrop shots in the second half.
The Bulldogs have now won 12 consecutive home games against league opponents at Kimmel Arena. Asheville is 16-1 at Kimmel Arena against Big South teams.
UNC Asheville travels to VMI for a rematch of the 2012 Big South Conference championship on Friday night in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPNU starting at 7 p.m.. Winthrop hosts Longwood Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.