The Runnin’ Bulldogs (8-7, 0-1 Big South) are coming off a gut-wrenching, triple overtime loss at preseason North Division favorite Campbell on Saturday, and will have to regroup quickly against a red-hot Asheville (7-8, 1-0 Big South) team.
As part of Wednesday’s festivities, State Farm Insurance and the Big South Conference are offering a special promotion for fans in attendance.
All fans 18 or older can register for the State Farm Basketball Giveaway. A drawing will be held to determine a single finalist for Wednesday's contest and, at the under four-minute media timeout in the first half, that person will have a chance to shoot for $5,000.
Fans can register for the drawing as they enter Paul Porter Arena upstairs on the main concourse.
The finalist must successfully make a quartet of shots: a layup; free throw; three-pointer and halfcourt shot in less than 25 seconds to win the prize. The finalist will also be eligible for a grand prize drawing for NCAA Tournament tickets later in the season (Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds).
Gardner-Webb will face a UNC Asheville squad on the court that has gotten a consistent lift from forward Jeremy Atkinson (17.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg), who scored 31 points in a near upset of NC State earlier this season in Raleigh. Guard Keith Hornsby, the son of Grammy Award winner Bruce Hornsby, has been a very bright spot as well – stepping into a key scoring gap left by graduated All-Big South guards Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm. The sharpshooting Hornsby is averaging 15.3 points per game, shooting 45.5 percent from long range and had 27 points in the Bulldogs’ win at Liberty on Saturday.
Coach Eddie Biedenbach’s team is also getting solid scoring from center Jon Nwannunu (9.3 ppg), point guard Trent Meyer (9.0 ppg), center D.J. Cunningham (8.4 ppg) and wing Will Weeks (8.2 ppg). UNC Asheville is among the league’s most consistent offensive teams at 72.0 ppg.
Gardner-Webb has relied all season on the trio of Donta Harper (14.0 ppg), Tashan Newsome (12.7 ppg) and Max Landis (10.9 ppg), and each reached double figures in Saturday’s heartbreaker in Buies Creek. Newsome netted 26 points in the game to lead all scorers, and had 33 points in the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ road loss at Asheville last season.
Forward Kevin Hartley (8.9 ppg) also netted double figures against the Camels, and is shooting a team-best 45.2 percent from long range this season – including a sizzling 66.7 percent (10-of-15) over the team’s last three games.
Gardner-Webb continues to pace the Big South in scoring defense (59.5 ppg), and allowed just 64 to Campbell in regulation on Saturday. The Runnin’ Bulldogs also rank second in the league in field goal percentage defense (40.5 percent), a category the team has either led or ranked second in all season among Big South members.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs have been ultra-competitive in games against UNC Asheville since joining the Big South – particularly in Paul Porter Arena – but will be looking to break an eight-game slide against Asheville that dates back to Gardner-Webb’s first season in the league (2008-2009).
Wednesday’s game will air live on WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org), with Fabian Fuentes calling the action and the opening tip set for 7:00 pm. The game will also be available via video stream as part of the Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com).
Fans are encouraged to call Gardner-Webb athletics at (704) 406-4340 for ticket information.