January 27, 2012

Camels travel to face Big South leader UNC Asheville Saturday

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Coming off its first loss in 2 weeks, Campbell (14-9, 8-3) faces a stiff challenge Saturday when it travels to Big South leader UNC Asheville (15-7, 10-1) for a 4:30 p.m. tip-off at Kimmel Arena.  The Camels are playing the last game in a 5-contest stretch that includes 4 on the road.

The Camels are coming off 78-72 setback Thursday at Gardner-Webb.  Darren White scored 22 points (7-12 field goals, 7-10 free throws) and had 4 assists and 4 steals, while Eric Griffin added 16 points (7-9 FG) and 9 rebounds in only 21 minutes due to foul trouble.  CU shot 56 percent from the floor, but only 12-21 (.571) from the line.  Led by Jason Dawson's career-high 19 points, Gardner-Webb canned 28-38 (.737) from the stripe to gain a split of the season series.

UNC Asheville has won 9 of its last 10 games, including a 90-70 triumph Thursday over High Point.  J.P. Primm scored a career-high 30 points, dealt 5 assists and had 5 steals with 0 turnovers as the Bulldogs out-scored the Panthers 54-38 in the second half.

On Jan. 12 at Buies Creek, Jeremy Atkinson scored 19 of his career-high 22 points in the 2nd half and UNCA rallied from a 17-point deficit in the 1st period to capture an 89-82 win.

All Campbell men's basketball games are aired throughout the Sandhills region of North Carolina on WCLN 107.3 FM with Chris Hemeyer on the play-by-play.  Free audio of the broadcast is also available on-line at GoCamels.com.

Saturday's game will also be aired locally in Asheville on WMYA-TV.

CU has won 3 of its last 4 on the road to improve to 5-8 away from home this season.  UNC Asheville is 8-2 at Kimmel Arena, 4-1 vs. Big South foes at home.

Campbell enters Saturday's action ranked 2nd in the nation in field goal percentage (.503) behind only Creighton (.513) and just ahead of Missouri (.503) and Coastal Carolina (.502).

Junior wing Darren White stands 2nd among Big South Conference scoring leaders (18.8).  He has topped the 20-point barrier 10 times -- most among all Big South players.

Senior forward Eric Griffin leads the Big South in field goal accuracy (.623, 7th in the nation) and blocks (2.36), while ranking 2nd in rebounds (8.8) and 7th in scoring (17.0).

Senior guard Lorne Merthie was named Big South player of the week after averaging 16.3 points and shooting 54.5 percent from 3-point range in 3 victories last week.  He tallied 14 points at Winthrop, had 19 of his season-high 21 points (5-7 threes) at Radford and added 14 vs. VMI.

Point guard Trey Freeman has missed the last 3 games after suffering a concussion at Winthrop.  He stands 15th among the nation's leading freshman scorers (14.6).

Thursday's game marks the 34th all-time between Campbell and UNC Asheville, dating to the 1967-68 season when both were members of the NAIA.  CU won 5 of the 8 meetings between the schools while the Camels were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference (1994-2011).

UNCA's Eddie Biedenbach is the longest-tenured head coach (16th season) in Big South Conference history.  He holds league records for most overall (231) and Big South (138) coaching victories.  Campbell head coach Robbie Laing is only two coaching victories shy of 100 for his career.

Three Bulldogs have been named Big South player of the week this year -- Jaron Lane, Chris Stephenson and Jeremy Atkinson.  However, neither pre-season player of the year Matt Dickey nor fellow pre-season all-conference pick J.P. Primm have gained the weekly honor yet. UNCA topped the 2011-12 Big South poll of head coaches. 

Senior guards Dickey and Primm have scored 15 points in the same game 26 times in their 4-year careers and the Bulldogs own a 20-6 record in those games (6-1 this season).  Dickey (1582), Primm (1516) and Stephenson (1029) are all members of the Big South 1,000 career points club.

UNC Asheville ranks 6th in the country (82.6) in scoring and second in the Big South behind only VMI (83.3).  In league games, the Bulldogs are scoring 82.2 points per game, 2nd only to Charleston Southern (83.6).

Following Saturday's contest, the Camels return home to face Charleston Southern (Thursday) and Presbyterian (Feb. 4).