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Coming off impressive road win, UNC Asheville begins three-game homestand

UNC Asheville's Alec Wnuk scored a career-high 19 points at Vanderbilt last week. Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville.

Coming off an impressive road win at Austin Peay that wrapped up a hectic 10-day schedule of three road games against quality opponents, the UNC Asheville men’s basketball team gets to settle into a short homestand for a week.

A 7 pm tipoff Wednesday vs. mid-major power Monmouth begins a stretch of three consecutive games at Kimmel Arena.

The Bulldogs (2-2) will also host Wofford in a 4:30 p.m. start Sunday and will welcome the newest member of the Big South Conference to Kimmel with a 7 pm game against USC Upstate on Nov. 29.

With guard MaCio Teague’s season-high 26 points leading the way, Asheville eased past Austin Peay 82-79 in overtime on Sunday.

Teague, a 6-3 sophomore, had 20 first-half points and iced the win with two free throws in the final few seconds.

Senior Kevin Vannatta added 19 points and fellow senior Ahmad Thomas finished with 11. Newcomer Donovan Gilmore, a junior transfer, contributed 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs overcame 21 turnovers vs. the Governors to complete a weekend of strong play in Tennessee. Asheville pushed SEC program Vanderbilt before losing 79-76 last Friday night.

Former Christ School standout Alec Wnuk had his best game as a Bulldog, scoring a career-high 19 points against the Commodores. He made 7-of-11 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“I thought our guys showed a little bit of resilience down the stretch (at Austin Peay),” said McDevitt.

“We turned the basketball over a few too many times to put ourselves in that position, but I thought we responded well in a good environment…we came up with some good efforts on the defensive end (down the stretch).”

Monmouth (2-2), coming off a 20-point loss at Virginia, has won 55 games the past two seasons and played in the postseason NIT each of those two years under coach King Rice, the former North Carolina point guard.

Wofford (3-2) is a traditionally strong Southern Conference program that is averaging 95 points a game in its three wins. The Terriers have had some success in Asheville in the past under veteran coach Mike Young, winning the SoCon Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center in 2014 and ’15.

USC Upstate announced last week that it will join Asheville as a member of the Big South Conference, beginning next year. Hampton (Va.) will also join the league.

The Spartans (1-3) will be playing their fifth road game in 10 days when they visit Kimmel Arena.

USC Upstate’s leading scorer is Malik Moore (16.8 points per game), a former Erwin High standout. Former North Henderson High guard Austin Nelson, who led WNC in scoring last year, is a freshman on the team.

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