Thursday night, J.P. Primm had a career-high 30 points in UNC Asheville’s 90-70 win over High Point. Not to be outdone, his running-mate at the guard position, Matt Dickey, followed that up with a career-high 31 points and tied a school record with seven steals Saturday evening as the Bulldogs (16-7, 11-1 Big South Conference) defeated a determined Campbell team, 95-84.
Another star of the night, Jeremy Atkinson, playing his first season with Asheville, had a double-double, adding 20 points and a career-high 12 assists to go along with his five assists and an 11-of-12 night on the free throw line. Primm scored 23 points against the Camels, as Asheville wowed the crowd of 2,104 at Kimmel Arena.
The game was very physical, and 52 fouls were called by the officials. Like the earlier game these teams played at Campbell (an 89-82 win by Asheville on Jan. 12), Atkinson said his team kept its cool and took control of the game in the second half. “We talked about being the smarter team, not talking trash and letting our game do the talking,” the transfer from Louisburg College said.
“We beat a very good Campbell team today,” Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach stated after the game. “I thought our defense was much better in the second half and our guys really executed well on offense in the second half.
“We’re fortunate to have two guys like Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm that can score in a lot of different ways,” he added. “Those guys did a great job scoring, drawing fouls and on defense.
“I can’t say enough about Jeremy Atkinson’s performance. He was a real warrior inside and gave us some great play there.”
“The dirty work is my job,” Atkinson said. “Guard the other team’s big guy, take charges, whatever it takes. Call me a blue-collar guy, a junkyard dog, whatever, as long as we keep winning.”
Coach Biedenbach said Atkinson, a 6-4 junior from Elm City, has been a great addition to the team. “He gets in there and battles and competes and grabs rebounds, and, he’s a great kid.”
The Bulldogs trailed 43-42 at the half, as the Camels were red-hot from the three-point line, going 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Asheville took charge early in the second half. With the game tied at 49, the Dogs went on a 19-2 run over a five-minute stretch to effectively put the game away. The Blue and White led by as many as 21 points before settling for the 11-point win.
“Asheville is a tougher and more physical team than we are, and that was the difference in the game,” Campbell coach Robbie Laing said.
The game featured some outstanding free throw shooting by Asheville, as they went 33-of-36 from the line. Dickey was 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs defense was relentless, forcing 19 Campbell turnovers and getting 10 steals. The Camels did win one statistical battle, taking a 37-28 edge in rebounding.
Asheville travels to VMI Thursday night and to Liberty on Saturday afternoon. In a quirk of the Big South schedule, the Bulldogs have just one home game (Feb. 11 against Radford) in the next 25 days.