North Carolina (1-0) vs. UNC Asheville (0-1)
Asheville, N.C. -- Kimmel Arena
4:00pm -- ESPNU
“We just weren't mentally ready to play a team like N.C. State tonight. Our guys needed to play hard for 40 minutes and didn't do that.” – UNC Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach following Friday’s loss
"We're excited about playing in our first game at Kimmel Arena. It should be a great day." – Biedenbach
Season to Date: UNC Asheville enters Sunday’s contest with an 0-1 record. The Bulldogs dropped their season opener to N.C. State, 84-75, on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C. After falling behind by 17 points at the half, Biedenbach’s squad opened the second stanza with a 14-4 run, but could not cut any further into the deficit. Senior guard Matt Dickey led Asheville with 17 points and junior forward Jaron Lane added 13.
2010-11 Review: The Bulldogs posted a 20-14 (11-7 Big South) record last season and won the Big South Tournament to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Asheville won its first round game against Arkansas-Little Rock in overtime, 81-77.
Senior Standout: Dickey earned Big South Preseason Player of the Year honors after a breakout junior campaign. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard led Asheville 15.7 points-per-game average in ’10-’11 en route to first-team All-Conference and Big South MVP honors. The Trussville, Ala. native was second on the team in assists (3.7) and steals (1.9).
2011-12 Preseason Accolades: The Bulldogs were tabbed the preseason favorite to win the Big South Conference by the league’s coaches and media, marking the first time that Asheville has been picked to win the conference since ’02-’03. Primm joined Dickey on the Preseason All-Conference first team after averaging 14.6 points per game and knocking down 55 3-pointers last season.
Experience Returns: The preseason hype is due to the return of four starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament squad. Senior forwards Chris Stephenson (9.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg in ’10-‘11) and Quinard Jackson (5.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg) pair with Dickey and Primm to give Biedenbach an experienced core of players. Lane (8.7 ppg, 49.3 in ’10-‘11) steps in to fill the void left by forward John Williams, who is currently a Harlem Globetrotter.
Effective Thieves: Asheville ranked 10th nationally last season in steals (9.1 per game) in setting a school record season-high with 310. Primm led the team with 71, good for a 2.1 steals-per-game average. The Bulldogs tallied seven steals against the Wolfpack on Friday.
New Digs: North Carolina will help the Bulldogs open Kimmel Arena in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,200 on Sunday. The new facility boasts a pair of Daktronics video boards, a center-hung scoreboard, digital scorer's table, a wide concourse that doubles a walking track and television displays in the concession stand areas. The arena is part of the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness, which covers 133,500 square feet and cost approximately $41 million to build. Bruce Hornsby, Grammy-award winning artist and father of freshman guard Keith Hornsby, will sing the national anthem.
Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Asheville, 80-69, at the Smith Center on Nov. 23, 2010. UNC built a 22-point lead early in the second half, but the Bulldogs fought back with a 31-15 spurt to close their deficit to 70-64 with 5:09 remaining. Tyler Zeller led the Tar Heels with a then-career-high 23 points, while John Henson added 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Primm scored 21 points for Asheville and Dickey added 15 points.
Series History: The Tar Heels hold a 7-0 lead in the series. This meeting marks the sixth time these two programs have played in the last seven years.
12 J.P. Primm (6-1, 195, Sr.) Ð 14.6 ppg, 4.5 apg
2 Matt Dickey (6-1, 180, Sr.) Ð 15.7 ppg, 3.3 apg
5 Jaron Lane (6-4, 170, Jr.) Ð 8.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
4 Chris Stephenson (6-3, 200, Sr.) Ð 9.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg
32 Quinard Jackson (6-5, 240, Sr.) Ð 5.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg
15 Jeremy Atkinson (6-4, 210, Jr.) - Elm City (N.C.) Louisburg
11 Trent Meyer (6-2, 165, So.) Ð 2.1 ppg
23 Keith Hornsby (6-4, 190, Fr.) - Williamsburg (Va.) Oak Hill
35 Jon Nwannunu (6-8, 225, Jr.) Ð 4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Location: Asheville N.C.
Conference: Big South
Colors: Royal Blue & White
Head Coach: Eddie Biedenbach (15th season)
2010-11 Record: 20-14 (11-7)
Roster & Bios