UNC Asheville‘s basketball team took to the road Thursday night and went into hostile territory, fell behind by 17 points in the first half, but ended up winning by 7 over a very tough Campbell University Camels squad. Just another game for the Big South Conference leading Bulldogs (11-6, 6-0 BSC) on their road to the NCAA Tournament.
The Dogs were led by Jeremy Atkinson’s 22 points, and he was cheered on by most of his family and friends from Elm City, NC, many of whom were seeing “Big Country” play (as a Bulldog) for the first time.
Matt Dickey just missed a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out eight assists. He scored his 1,500th career point in the game, moving him into sixth place on the school’s career list with 1,504 points. J.P. Primm also had a big game, adding 18 points, and Jaron Lane scored 13.
Atkinson came alive in the second half, scoring 19 of his 22 points as Asheville outscored Campbell 57-38 in the second half to bring their conference record to a perfect 4-0 on the road and 6-0 overall. This was the Bulldogs’ fifth straight win.
The loss was Campbell’s (10-8, 4-2 BSC) first home defeat of the year. The crowd of 3,035 at Gore Arena was the third largest in school history, and they were very vocal.
“This is a real gutty win for us tonight,” Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach stated after the win. “Campbell is a very good basketball team and to fall behind by 17 and have the resolve to come back really says a lot about our guys. I am so proud of them right now for finding a way to beat a team like Campbell on the road.”
The Bulldogs were able to whittle the 17-point deficit down to 12 at halftime and trailed 44-32 going into the break. They started fast in the second half, hitting three treys to bring them closer to the Camels. The Dogs took their first lead of the game, 66-65, on Atkinson’s three-point play with 8:26 remaining.
Asheville took the lead for good at the 6:11 mark when Chris Stephenson scored on a lay-up off a feed from Dickey to make it 69-67. They held the lead, but Campbell kept it close, coming to within two points twice before Dickey hit a shot from beyond the arc at the 1:40 mark to give Asheville an 84-79 lead.
The Bulldogs sealed the game with 5-of-6 free throws over the final minute.
Despite giving Campbell a considerable height advantage, Asheville ended up with a 41-38 advantage on the boards. Each team grabbed 19 offensive rebounds.
Asheville travels to Big South Conference rival High Point at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night before coming home to host Coastal Carolina next Tuesday in what should be a very interesting home game.