ASHEVILLE, NC Andre Smith (Miami, FL) scored 25 points and Ben McGonagil (Panama City, FL) added 19 points as UNC Asheville downed Coastal Carolina, 92-81 in Big South Conference action at Justice Center Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (13-12 Overall, 10-2 Big South) remained in first place in the Big South Conference standings and can win the regular-season title outright with a win in their next two games. UNCA finishes the regular season at Charleston Southern Wednesday night and at Winthrop next Saturday. The victory was the Bulldogs fifth straight and 11th in the last 13 games. UNCA began the season 1-10 before Christmas but
has been red hot ever since.
Robby Joyner (Fayetteville, N.C.) chipped in 16 points, while sophomore forward Billy Allen (Decatur, AL) enjoyed a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Coastal Carolina (8-17 Overall, 5-7 Big South) was led by Antonio Darden (Randallstown, MD) with 17 points. Brandon Newby (Lanham, MD) contributed 16 points, while Anthony Susnjara (Australia) added 12 points. Derrick Robinson (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) finished with 11 points.
Smith and McGonagil scored 10 points each in the first half to stake UNC Asheville to a 41-35 halftime lead. The Bulldogs steadily built the lead to 12 at 61-49 on an Allen jumper at the 9:39 mark. Smith made four straight free throws to help push the lead to 71-57 with 6:44 left.
The Chanticleers closed to 73-65 on a three-pointer from Alvin Green with six minutes remaining but that was close as Coastal Carolina got. UNCA did an outstanding job shooting free throws for the game as it went 31-of-36 for 86 percent. The Bulldogs were 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the final three minutes of the game to hold the
"We did a good job on offense for most of the game," stated Bulldog coach Eddie Biedenbach. "Give Coastal a lot of credit because they simply would not go away and made us earn everything today. This was a good win against a good team."