Press release provided by Gardner-Webb
RADFORD, Va. – No. 3 seed Gardner-Webb closed the game on a 17-7 run and held No. 6 UNC Asheville without a field goal for the final 6:08 to win 72-62 and advance to the 2020 Hercules Tires Big South Men’s Basketball semifinals.
Thursday’s quarterfinal win puts the Runnin’ Bulldogs (16-15) into the league tournament semifinals for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Eric Jamison, Jr., led Gardner-Webb with 19 points and 13 rebounds – with six coming on the offensive end. Jaheam Cornwall scored 16, Nate Johnson added 14 and Christian Turner came up clutch with 12 points in the win.
The backcourt efficiency helped the ‘Dogs shoot 51.0 percent for the game – Gardner-Webb’s fifth game in a row shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. GWU has won each of those five games, and eight of its last nine.
Gardner-Webb led 36-31 after a competitive first half, and saw UNC Asheville (15-16) go on a 15-3 run to take the lead very early in the second half. The lower-seeded Bulldogs kept it close until the closing seconds, but couldn’t find their range when Gardner-Webb began to make veteran plays.
Asheville got 18 points from DeVon Baker, 16 points from Coty Jude and 13 points from Lavar Batts in the loss. All-Conference guard L.J. Thorpe finished with nine points on 4-of-13 shooting and the Bulldogs managed just 37.7 percent for the game (35.7 percent in the second half).
Gardner-Webb limited its turnovers, with only three in the second half, which limited Asheville’s offensive momentum at times. GWU also owned a 40-29 edge on the glass and scored 13 second-chance points, while limiting the lower seed to only four points off the glass.
Up next for the Runnin’ Bulldogs is a semifinal battle against No. 2 Winthrop after the Eagles scored 106 points in a rout of No. 7 USC Upstate in Thursday’s first quarterfinal.
The two teams split the regular season meetings, with both winning on their home court.
Friday’s game will tip at 6:00 pm in Radford, Va.