Donta Harper led three Gardner-Webb players in double figures with 13 points as the Runnin' Bulldogs led wire-to-wire in a 67-55 victory over The Citadel on Saturday afternoon at McAlister Field House.
Harper knocked down 4-of-6 field goal attempts and converted 5-of-7 free throws to finish as Gardner-Webb's top scorer. He was joined in double figures by the combination of Tyler Strange (11 points) and Tyrell Nelson (10).
The Runnin' Bulldogs (5-5) earned their second victory in the all-time series by hitting 23-of-47 (48.9%) from the field and 18-of-27 (66.7%) at the charity stripe. Gardner-Webb's well-balanced offense was due in large part to 12 team assists, five of which came from Strange.
The Citadel (3-8), which suffered its first setback at home since Feb. 28, was unable to establish consistency in the offensive, hitting just 19-of-50 (38%) from the floor. The Dogs did however force Gardner-Webb into 20 team fouls, which turned into a 15-of-22 (68.2%) performance at the free throw line.
Freshman Brian White (13 points) took home high individual honors for The Citadel. White combined his 6-of-10 shooting performance with five rebounds (four offensive) in just under 30 minutes of action. He was joined in scoring by frontcourt teammate C.J. Bray (11 points) who finished 4-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-5 at the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs also got a solid outing from Ashton Moore who came off the bench to score nine points by virtue of two field goals and four free throws. Moore, along with Dylen Setzekorn (five points), led The Citadel bench to 24 points, the most in the last three contests. Marshall Harris III handed out six assists for The Citadel, marking his fifth straight game with four assists or more.
Facing a 35-26 deficit to open the second half, The Citadel put together a 5-2 run over a 3:42 stretch to trim the margin to six following a White free throw.
Gardner-Webb countered with a 7-2 run that included a Strange trey and a breakaway layup by Onzie Branch to forge back in front by double figures, 44-33.
The Bulldogs amped up their defensive efforts and along with four points apiece by Bray and Tom Koopman the GWU lead was cut to 45-41.
A 3-pointer by Isaiah Ivey and a layup in transition from Nelson helped Gardner-Webb push the margin back to nine with just under 10 minutes left in the contest.
After allowing The Citadel to pull within five, 50-45, behind back-to-back layups by White, Gardner-Webb used four points from Naji Hibbert to highlight an 11-0 run that stretched the lead to 61-45 with 3:50 remaining.
Despite being outscored 10-6 over the final three minutes of the contest the Runnin' Bulldogs earned their third victory in their last three games by a 67-55 final.
Three points each by the tandem of Harper and Strange allowed Gardner-Webb to establish an 8-2 lead at the 15:19 mark of the first half.
The Citadel shook off its early shooting struggles with a Harris 3-pointer and followed with a Bray layup to quickly trim the five-point deficit to one in just over a minute of action.
Harper maintained the hot hand for Gardner-Webb who outscored the Cadets 10-2 during a 4:37 stretch as the Runnin' Bulldogs moved in front 18-9 with just under nine minutes remaining.
Solid defense kept GWU in front by double figures as the lead eventually reached 27-14 following a pair of Branch free throws at the 4:08 mark. It was there The Citadel turned to Setzekorn, who came through with a three-point play and put the margin at 10.
The Citadel scored nine of the final 17 points of the frame, including four by Moore, to trail by nine points as the first half buzzer sounded.
The Citadel will have an 11-day layoff for exams before returning to the court to play Brevard on Nov. 18 at McAlister Field House. Game time is set for 7:05 against the Tornados.