The UNC Asheville Bulldogs basketball team will open their 2020-21 season on Friday when they host the UNC Wilmington Seahawks.
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The game (3:30 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch UNC Wilmington vs UNC Asheville on ESPN+ right here:
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You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
UNC Wilmington vs UNC Asheville Preview
The Bulldogs went 15-16 last season (8-10 in Big South play) in their second campaign under head coach Mike Morrell, an 11-win improvement over the year prior. He’ll bring back all five starters from a year ago: junior guards Devon Baker, L.J. Thorpe, and Tajion Jones, senior guard Lavar Batts Jr., and junior forward Coty Jude.
“As coaches I don’t know that you ever feel like you’re exactly where you need to be, but I feel like we’re definitely trending in the right direction,” Morrell said, according to the Johnson City Press. “I came in with a plan and we stuck to that plan knowing that it wasn’t going to happen overnight.”
Baker led the team and ranked fifth among Big South players in scoring at 16.5 points per game, adding 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals.
Asheville’s first three games will come at home, with no fans in attendance.
“We’ll see what it looks like in January, but we’re going to have no spectators and kind of readjust,” Morrell said, per the Johnson City Press. “I’m hoping we can at least get some families of players in here so they can see their kids play. I think right now the biggest goal is to just try to be able to play some games first and see how that goes.”
The Seahawks went 10-22 overall and 5-13 in Colonial Athletic Association action, then named Takayo Siddle, a UNC Wilmington assistant from 2014 to 2017, their next head coach.
On Wednesday, in the first test of Siddle’s first head coaching gig, the Seahawks fell to the Western Carolina Catamounts 98-76 at Kimmel Arena. His squad shot 37.1 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from the 3-point line; their opponents hit 56.3 percent of their shots and 45 percent of their triples.
“They didn’t fall for us tonight,” Siddle said, according to the school’s athletics department website. “I thought we had some good looks. I thought we missed some guys. We got to the paint and we left so many shots on the rim. We just have to concentrate, keep our eyes on the rim and finish those easy shots around the rim.
“We don’t have much time to think about this. We have to bring the same energy, correct the mistakes and get ready to play a good UNC Asheville team on Friday.”
Junior guard Jaylen Sims, who last year led the Seahawks with 11.8 points per game, scored a game-high 27 on 5-of-12 shooting.
“Jaylen was really aggressive and played really hard,” Siddle said, per the athletics department site. “He was aggressive touching the paint and played like he really wanted to win the game.”