Men’s basketball tops Brevard in exhibition game

By Max Carter – jcarter1@unca.edu – Staff Writer | Nov. 12, 2014 |

The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team took to the court for the first time this season on

Saturday, capturing the win from Brevard College in an exhibition game, 81-58.

“I think we finally started doing the job defensively about midway through the first half,” said Nick McDdevitt, head coach. “Early in the game I think we were giving them too many easy looks at the basket.”

Brevard had a 14-18 lead eight minutes into the first half and coaches and players were frustrated with the early deficit to their mismatched opponent.

Then the Bulldogs defense began to come together, freezing Brevard’s shooting as UNCA went on an 18-0 run.

With just five minutes left to play in the half, Brevard knocked down its first basket in nearly seven minutes of gameplay — a 3-pointer that brought the score to 32-21.

“Brevard has several guys who can shoot the basketball and I thought we were giving them a couple easy looks there at the beginning and we finally started taking away some catch-and-shoot three’s by them,” McDevitt said. “I told our team, ‘If you get into a horse competition with a team full of shooters, it could be a long night.” “We revved it up defensively and that’s when the game started turning in our favor.”

Kevin Vannatta, a freshman, looks to pass the ball. Photo by Max Carter
Kevin Vannatta, a freshman, looks to pass the ball.
Photo by Max Carter

Brevard’s Darius Moose scored the final points of the half, driving through the lane for a layup with six seconds left on the clock.

UNCA headed to the locker room in front, 39-29.

After the break Brevard crept back into contention, narrowing UNCA’s lead to six with 13 minutes left to play, but UNCA slipped out of reach after going on a 22-2 run.

“I think we looked really good,” Andrew Rowsey, sophomore point guard, said regarding the team’s performance. “We started out a little slow but we really turned it on them. We turned on our defense and that’s what helped the offense.”

Rowsey finished the game with 18 points, making six of his 16 shots from the field.

“I didn’t shoot the ball well, but I tried to make it up in other areas. Defense and getting assists — stuff like that,” Rowsey said.

Rowsey had four assists and two steals to go alongside his scoring.

The exhibition game was also a chance to unveil the freshmen added to the team.

Freshman Alec Wnuk scored 4 points during his 12 minutes on the court, two of which came off a two-handed, break-away dunk.

Freshman Kem Ubaru finished with 7 points and two steals and Raekwon Miller had one score and an assist.

It was Kevin Vannatta, freshman guard, with the standout performance, by tying with Rowsey for a team-high 18 points, hitting 70 percent of his shots from the field.

“I was just trying to go out there and do my job. My teammates put me in good spots,” Vannatta said.

With senior centers Jaleel Roberts sitting out and Chudier Pal only on the floor for three minutes, Giacomo Zilli, a 6’9” forward, took over as UNCA’s big man.

In 21 minutes of play, Zilli recorded 6 points, two blocks, a steal and an assist, providing the inside threat for UNCA on both sides of the court.

“Overall it was a good win,” McDevitt said.

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