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Drama Highlights First Day of Big South Play

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There was plenty of fun and drama in a full day of hoops that kicked off Big South play on Wednesday.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday was the official kickoff for Big South hoops with every team in action except Charleston Southern.

UNC Asheville Shocks Radford

UNC Asheville came into their opener at Radford limping a bit at 4-7, but that didn't slow the Bulldogs down. Jaleel Roberts was the hero for UNCA with a tip-in with two seconds left to lock up the win for the Bulldogs. Roberts had a great game all-around with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

One thing to keep an eye on is Andrew Rowsey, who just posted 5 points in the conference opener. Rowsey is becoming more of a distributor for Asheville, which is great, but he's just 8-for-31 from the field in his last three games. I've been a strong proponent of Rowsey changing his "chucker" style to benefit his team, and he has a bit, but does he still need to be a more efficient shooter for Asheville to be successful long term?

R.J. Price lead the Highlanders with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Mike Jones' squad will look to rebound at in-state rival Longwood on Saturday. Asheville will face an in-state rival of their own at home against Gardner-Webb.

Winthrop Outlasts Longwood in Overtime

What an opener in Rock Hill as Winthrop escaped in overtime with an 82-72 victory over Longwood. The Lancers had a lead as high as seven in the first half but came out flat in the second half letting the Eagles build a double-digit lead Longwood battled back though behind big man Lotanna Nwogbo and star guard Quincy Taylor to force overtime. Keon Moore and the developing Winthrop frontcourt just wore out the Lancers in overtime and eventually pulled away.

Moore finished with 27 points but it's the Eagles' frontcourt that was the story. Pat Kelsey has three freshmen in Xavier Cooks, Joseph Lopez, and Duby Okeke who are really going to be a force in a year or two. Cooks had 13 points and 9 rebounds, while Lopez posted 12 points and 4 boards. The trio of big men battled with Nwogbo all afternoon, who finished  the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Winthrop is back at .500 at 6-6 and will host High Point on Saturday for a 1 PM tip.

Coastal Dominates High Point on the Road

Coastal Carolina visiting High Point was supposed to be the game of the day but the Chanticleers dominated the Panthers to a tune of a 83-68 victory. The Chants had five players in double-figures, lead by Josh Cameron with 18 points  off the bench. John Brown was back in the starting lineup for High Point but posted only 12 points and 5 rebounds. The Panthers bench only provided 8 points in the loss compared to 26 from the Chants.

Coastal will move on to take on rival Charleston Southern on Saturday in Conway. The game will be the Big South opener for the Bucs.

Campbell Wins Sloppy Affair Versus Liberty

Another Big South opener and another win for Campbell. The Camels hosted Liberty in a game that looked like no one really wanted to win. Both teams had 15 turnovers and their was zero offensive flow from either side with both teams shooting under 30%. Reco McCarter was the only Camel in double-digits with 15 points and 9 rebounds.  Peter Moller posted 10 points and scored the Flames only two three pointers of the game.

Campbell will now take the weekend off and prepare for a Monday match up with Charleston Southern. Liberty will host Presbyterian on Saturday.

Gardner-Webb Downs Presbyterian

Gardner-Webb cruised to an 81-64 road victory at Presbyterian. Tyrell Nelson and Jerome Hill were dominant in the post as both posted double-doubles combining for 40 points and 23 rebounds. Tyler Strange also threw in 10 assists for the Bulldogs. Jordan Downing lead the Blue Hose with 28 points. PC is still searching for their first Division I win of the year.