GAME NOTES: Two teams vying for the Big South Conference crown square off at the Dedmon Center on Thursday evening, as the Radford Highlanders play host to the UNC Asheville Bulldogs.
The Highlanders are hovering around the top of the Big South North Division at 6-4. Radford has won two straight and three of the last four games, including an 83-66 victory at Presbyterian last Saturday.
The Bulldogs are just two games over .500 at 13-11, but have done their best work in-conference, sporting a 7-3 league mark in the Big South's South Division. UNC Asheville has won three straight games and five of its last six outings, including a hard-fought 75-72 decision over Liberty last time out.
UNC Asheville owns a 33-29 advantage in the all-time series with Radford thanks to wins in each of the last six meetings.
The Bulldogs have a number of offensive weapons in the fold, leading to 74.3 ppg. Freshman Andrew Rowsey has made an immediate impact on the roster and comes in leading the team in scoring at a hefty 18.9 ppg (sixth in the Big South). Forward Jaron Lane (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and center D.J. Cunningham (10.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg) provide balance as one of the conference's top frontcourt tandems.
UNC Asheville built a 19-point second half lead, but actually trailed late against Liberty, before edging out the Flames in the end and continue its current win streak. Lane had a huge game, finishing with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Rowsey was productive across the board, posting 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the win for UNCA, which shot a solid .481 from the floor, including 9-of-20 from behind the arc.
The Highlanders can also fill up the basket, netting a solid 76.4 ppg on .475 shooting. Scoring depth is apparent with four of the team's five starters averaging double figures. Forward Javonte Green headlines the list as the team's top scorer (16.7 ppg) and rebounder (7.8 rpg). Guard R.J. Price is next in the scoring column at 12.4 ppg, followed by fellow guards Ya Ya Anderson and Rashun Davis, at 11.1 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.
Radford trailed by a point at the half at Presbyterian, but closed the game out on a 22-6 run to earn a 16-point victory. Anderson led the way in the victory with 23 points. Green added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Davis was instrumental in the win as well, adding 15 points and tying his career high with six rebounds coming off the bench.
The Bulldogs have owned this series of late, but this year's version has struggled on the road. The Highlanders are on a roll and should be able to earn a close victory here.
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