UNC Asheville beats VMI 80-64 to earn NCAA berth

STEVE REED AP Sports Writer Published:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Matt Dickey scored 15 points and had five steals as UNC Asheville defeated VMI 80-64 in the Big South Conference championship game Saturday to earn its second straight berth in the NCAA tournament.

UNC-Asheville has won the championship three previous times, but never as the No. 1 seed.

The Bulldogs (24-9) only led by one at the halftime. But Dickey, the Big South player of the year, provided a key spark midway through the second half that put the Bulldogs ahead for good.

He had 10 points in the second half and added six assists and made all seven free throw attempts.

Jeremy Atkinson led UNC Asheville with 18 points while tournament MVP J.P Primm had 16 points. All five Bulldogs starters scored in double digits.

Keith Gabriel led VMI (17-16) with 12 points.