UNC Asheville Basketball News: On Thursday Night, Bulldogs run Warren Wilson off court, 122-70

Drew Pember


ASHEVILLE, N.C. –  The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team cruised to a 122-70 victory over Warren Wilson at Kimmel Arena on Wednesday. The 122 points scored by the Bulldogs on Wednesday are the second-most points ever scored in a game played at Kimmel Arena with the record being 126 points in a 2011 game vs. Mars Hill.

“I was proud of our guys tonight, especially in the second half,” said UNC Asheville Head Coach Mike Morrell afterward. “They came out, competed and I thought we played better in the final 20 minutes. Anytime we can go undefeated at home in non-conference play, it’s a good day. Now we’ll get some rest and get ready for Dayton.”

The 122-point outburst by Asheville had several contributors to the cause. Drew Pember scored 22 points on perfect outings from both the field (7-for-7) and free throw line (8-for-8) to go along with nine rebounds. Pember has now made his last 28 shots from the free throw line.

Dean Gabrelcik had his best performance as a Bulldog in his young career knocking down six 3-pointers in an 18-point performance. Amadou Sylla had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Fletcher Abee added 14 points as well to go with a career-high eight assists.

“Both of those guys are going to be big for us this year,” Morrell added. “Amadou rebounds very well and Dean can really shoot it. I’m proud of those guys and thought both of them had great days.”

Tajion Jones (12 points), Jamon Battle (11 points), and Silas Mason (10 points) also reached double figures in Wednesday’s win.

The Bulldogs started quickly on Wednesday as they scored the first 10 points of the contest. Asheville’s offense was rolling in the first half shooting 63.3 percent from the field and 85.1 percent from the free throw line on 21 attempts.

A major key in Asheville’s offensive output was Pember. The Knoxville, Tennessee native scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half. It marks the first time a Bulldog has scored 20 or more points in a half since Lavar Batts Jr. achieved the same feat at Campbell in 2020.

With Pember and the rest of the Bulldogs playing so well, they closed the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 59-33 lead into the halftime break.

When the second half began, the Bulldogs kept the pressure on the Owls. Led by Gabrilcik and Sylla the Bulldog bench scored 44 points in the final 20 minutes to keep Asheville’s well-intact. Furthermore, the Bulldogs continued to hold the edge in second chance points (11-0) and points in the paint (32-12) in the second half.

With all these factors working together, the Bulldogs finished off the 122-70 victory. The 52-point win is the fourth-largest in the history of Kimmel Arena and marks the first time Asheville has surpassed the century mark this season. Finally, the 122 points is the most by any Big South team since Winthrop scored 127 points against Pfeiffer in 2019.