The Runnin' Bulldogs (10-10, 2-4 Big South) still sit atop the Big South's defensive scoring stats through 20 games, and have held its last two opponents to just 56.5 points per game – despite two close losses.
The team's defense mettle will be tested Saturday afternoon in the mountains of Virginia, as preseason Player of the Year Stan Okoye (20.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg) leads a talented group of Keydets (9-9, 4-2 Big South) onto the floor. The Keydets have dropped two in a row away from home by double figures, but are 7-1 at Cameron Hall this season to date – and shoot above their season average of 43.0 percent from the floor on their home court.
In addition to Okoye, Coach Duggar Baucom's squad gets a solid 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game from 6-foot-9, 235-pound post player D.J. Covington and 10.8 points and 4.6 assists per game from point guard Rodney Glasgow. Kings Mountain, N.C., sophomore Brian Brown has moved into the starting lineup this season, and paces the team with 45 made 3-pointers (38.0 percent). Brown is averaging 9.3 points per game.
Gardner-Webb is looking to snap an 11-game league road losing streak, with its last Big South road victory coming on New Year's Eve, 2011, at Radford. Its first of 11 consecutive road losses came at VMI last January 2, a 76-72 setback.
The Runnin' Bulldogs efforts were hampered very early at Winthrop, as leading scorer Donta Harper picked up three quick fouls and was limited to just four minutes in the first half. Harper fouled out in just 14 minutes Wednesday night, and scored seven points – his first non-double figures scoring game since a loss at Wofford on December 5.
Kevin Hartley continued his hot shooting tear, making 3-of-5 long range shots to lead Gardner-Webb with 13 markers Wednesday night. The Klein, Texas, native is shooting 50.6 percent from 3-point range on the season and has made 21-of-30 treys in the past eight games (70.0 percent).
Saturday's game video broadcast will will be available via video stream on the Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com).