8-0 in conference. 7 game win streak. But let’s not rest on our laurels.
Asheville faced a tough, vicious Coastal Carolina team tonight and pulled out a win by playing smart basketball and shooting almost perfectly from the foul line.
There were visceral joys to be found in tonight’s game, like resident punk Anthony Raffa’s two airballs, back-to-back-to-back threes by Chris Stephenson and JP Primm, and a balanced scoring attack that saw four Bulldogs in double figures. Jeremy Atkinson notched yet another triple-double, proving yet again the value of this junior college transfer.
Coastal Carolina proved that they’re one of the best teams in the Conference, no doubt about it. Jon Pack, who looked like he was auditioning for the part of a cave troll in one of the Lord of the Rings movies, was a dominating force in the paint with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Chanticleers demonstrated, like so many teams before them, that Asheville’s lack of size is a real weakness.
Fortunately, Asheville more than made up for that with smart play. Doing things like drawing fouls on three-point shots (three times in the first half!) and taking charges down low from bigger players made the difference in this game. Asheville also shot 93.9 percent from the charity stripe. In the end, the emotional maturity of the senior players carried the day.
The crowd was a mixed bag, honestly. The student section was loud, proud, and clad almost to a student in white as part of the #occupykimmel “white out” protest. From what I heard, Janet Cone wore all black. Great sense of humor, Ms. Cone! On the other hand, there were not nearly as many seats filled as I would have like to have seen, which makes me think that ticket prices may need to fall next year.
Speaking of #occupykimmel, this win is another small step towards setting up a nightmare scenario where Asheville earns home-court advantage in the Big South tournament only to lose it as a result of the Administration’s failure to put their student-athletes first. The next two games (vs. CSU on Thursday and at Presbyterian on Saturday) will go a long way towards determining whether this scenario will keep unfolding. Tonight, though, Asheville should give themselves a pat on the back for going 8-0 in conference play for the first time in almost 15 years and get ready for two more games this week.
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