Asheville, N.C. - The Tornados men’s basketball team opened up the 2009-2010 season with the short trip over to Asheville to take on Big South opponent UNC-Asheville in a preseason exhibition. Preseason First Team All-SAC selection Jonathan Whitson had 16 points in the first half on his way to 22 on the game and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Tornados withstood a furious comeback in the final minutes to take home the win, 73-69.
Josh Roper added 13 points in the game, connecting twice from behind the arc, and Sam Carlisle added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Tornados.
The Tornados were able to control the battle of the boards with the 40-38 edge and outshot the Bulldogs 45.6 percent (31-68) to 38.3 percent (23-60) as Brevard controlled the tempo throughout the majority of the game.
Sean Smith led the Bulldogs with 22 points, hitting five three-pointers. He was joined in double-digits by Matt Dickey with 11 and John Williams with 10 as UNC-Asheville blocked nine shots in the game.
The first half went back and forth as the Tornados came out to a 9-2 lead as Jonathan Whitson scored the first four points of the contest and Josh Roper and Sam Carlisle added layups.
UNC-Asheville came back to retain the lead as Sean Smith and Matt Dickey each put in shots from behind the arc and a tip-in by Eric Stubbs gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at the 15:22 mark.
UNC-Asheville recorded their largest lead in the first half when they went up by five as Smith hit his second three-pointer and then assisted on Dickey’s layup to put the lead at 28-23 with 5:22 remaining in the opening half.
The Tornados continued to come back, cutting the lead to one going into the final media timeout of the first half at 30-29 as Josh Jordan scored off the pass from Carlisle.
Brevard went on a 7-0 run in the final 1:52 of the half as Carlisle and Darin Dellinger each had layups and as time expired Roper found nothing but net from 30 feet out as Coach Michael Jones’ squad went into the locker room with the 36-30 lead.
The lead increased to eight points halfway through the second half as a layup by Jacques Dovonou at the 11:22 mark off the assist from Roper put the Tornados in control at 54-46.
The Bulldogs showed their mettle, bringing the game all the way back and taking the lead on a 15-0 run which spanned nearly six minutes as D.J. Cunningham had six points off two layups and a jumper during the span.
Brevard kept the game close as Roper connected on his second three of the night and then as the shot clock was running out, Roper stole the pass from Dickey and returned it all the way and converted the layup after drawing contact as Brevard went up 64-62 with 3:02 left in the game.
The Tornados were able to withstand a furious Bulldogs comeback as Whitson slammed the ball home with 17 seconds left as Brevard captured the win in the Justice Center, 73-69.
Brevard closes out their exhibition season on Friday, November 13th as the Tornados travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on North Carolina A&T. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Aggies in the Ellis F. Corbett Sports Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.