UNC Asheville wins home opener
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – UNC Asheville men's basketball easily picked up its first win of the 2017-18 season and its 10th straight home win in a 92-60 victory over Lees-McRae at Kimmel Arena on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.
The game would be tied 5-5 early on, but Asheville would end the first half on a 45-21 run over the final 16 minutes of the first half to take a 50-26 lead into the halftime break.
The Bulldogs would outscore the Bobcats, 42-34, in the second half to secure the 32-point victory.
UNC Asheville was led by four in double figures with Raekwon Miller leading the way with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Miller was 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Vannatta finished his efforts with 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal. He was 5-of-9 from the floor in the Bulldog victory.
UNC Asheville's Drew Rackley continued his strong start to the 2017-18 season by finishing with 13 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in the win over the Bobcats.
The final Bulldog in double figures was newcomer Jalen Seegars, who chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds, one block and one steal.
Jordan Turner was the top scorer for Lees-McRae with 12 points.
Home Sweet Home
UNC Asheville ended the 2016-17 season in the midst of a nine-game home winning streak. The Bulldogs closed out the regular season 13-1 on the year at home. UNC Asheville's home-opening win over Lees-McRae was its 10th straight home win. UNC Asheville is now 69-16 all-time at Kimmel Arena, including 48-10 in Big South Conference contests.
Lees-McRae came into the matchup with UNC Asheville averaging 99 points per game, which means the Bulldogs held them to 39 points under their season average. The Bulldogs closed out the win with 15 steals as a team with MaCio Teague and newcomer LJ Thorpe leading the way with four steals each.
This was only the second regular season meeting between UNC Asheville and Lees-McRae with the Bulldogs now having won both. The last time the two before today had faced off in the regular season was 10 years ago on Nov. 11, 2007, when Kenny George's almost triple-double of 15 points, 10 blocked shots and nine rebounds led the Bulldogs to a 74-48 win over the Bobcats. Since that regular season meeting, the Bulldogs had taken on Lees-McRae in exhibitions in 2008 and 2011. Due to NCAA rules in games between Division I and II teams, today's game was also actually an exhibition game for Lees-McRae and a regular season game for the Bulldogs.
UNC Asheville will next continue its efforts in the 2017 NIT Season Tip-Off by traveling to the Middle Tennessee area for road games against Vanderbilt (Nov. 17) and Austin Peay (Nov. 19). The Bulldogs and Commodores are scheduled to tip things off at 8 p.m. EST on Friday, Nov. 17, in Nashville, Tenn. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+.