Asheville comeback deals Camels first home loss of season 89-82

Marvelle Harris
(photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Marvelle Harris (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Jeremy Atkinson scored 19 of his career-high 22 points in the second half and UNC Asheville rallied to defeat Campbell 89-82 Thursday night in Big South Conference men's basketball action at Gore Arena. 

Despite trailing by 17 in the first half and by 11 with 15:57 to go, the defending Big South champion Bulldogs (11-6, 6-0) won their fifth-straight game and improved to 4-0 on the road in conference play.

Asheville senior guards Matt Dickey (19 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists), J.P. Primm (18 points, 5 assists) and Chris Stephenson (9 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) combined for 46 points.  Jaron Lane added 13 points for UNCA, which made 15 of its first 22 shots in the second period and hit 60.7 percent (17-28) from the floor after the break.

Campbell entered the game ranked 3rd nationally in team field goal percentage (.509), but shot 43.9 percent (29-66) from the floor overall and made 11 turnovers in the second stanza.

Eric Griffin led the Camels (10-8, 4-2) with 13 points, plus 8 rebounds in 26 minutes before fouling out in the final minute.  Trey Freeman (12), Marvelle Harris (11 points, 9 boards), Rico Ferguson (11) and Darren White (11) also hit double digits for Campbell, which lost for the first time at home this season after opening with 7-straight wins at Gore Arena.

Asheville cut into a 44-32 half-time deficit by making its first 3 threes (two from Primm) in the second period, but the Camels led 56-45 after Griffin's 3-point play with 15:17 to go.  However, UNCA went on a 16-5 flurry to tie the score at 61 with 10:58 to go.

Griffin's dunk with 6:45 to play put CU back in front 67-66 with 6:45 to go, but Dickey's steal and feed to Stephenson for a transition lay-in put the Bulldogs ahead for good (69-67) with 6:11 to go. 

CU trailed by just one with 3:34 to play, but UNCA made 9-of-10 from the line the the last 2:54 to seal the victory.

Campbell used a 21-8 run to jump to a 29-12 lead on Eric Griffin's dunk on a baseline inbound pass from Rico Ferguson with 9:02 left in the half.

After UNCA coach Eddie Biedenbach called timeout, the Bulldogs responded with an 18-8 run and cut the margin to 37-30 on Matt Dickey's steal and 3-point play with 1:36 remaining in the period.

However, Anthony Horton answered with a 3 for the Camels, and CU led 44-32 at the break when Freeman scored on a drive with one second left on the clock.

Asheville shot just 10-of-30 in the opening half, including 2-of-13 from the stripe.  Marvelle Harris led the Camels with 9 points and 8 rebounds in the opening half.

Dickey and Primm have scored 15 points in the same game 22 times in their 4-year careers and the Bulldogs own a 17-5 record in those games (3-0 this season).

Campbell returns to action Saturday in a 1:00 p.m. tip-off against Gardner-Webb at Gore Arena.