The Runnin' Bulldogs (14-11, 6-5 Big South) sit in a tie with Coastal Carolina for third in the division, 2.5 games behind Charleston Southern and three games back of UNC Asheville (15-10, 9-2 Big South).
Gardner-Webb beat Asheville, 78-71, on January 9 in Boiling Springs – but will face a team on Wednesday night that is riding a seven game win streak. Coach Eddie Biedenbach's squad has gone 16-1 against league foes in Kimmel Arena since it opened last season, and has won 12 in a row against the Big South on its home floor.
Last season, the Runnin' Bulldogs put up a strong effort before falling late in Asheville. Tashan Newsome netted an arena-record 33 points – still a career-high for the Albany, N.Y., redshirt senior. Newsome has been on fire of late, averaging 24.3 points over Gardner-Webb's last four games.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard has scored at least 22 points in four straight games, leading the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 3-1 record. He scored nine of his team-high 26 points in the final four minutes of Saturday's win over Liberty – and had 17 markers in the second half.
Newsome led four players in double figures in the January win, netting 19 points. Donta Harper (13 points), Max Landis (13 points) and Jerome Hill (12 points) also reached double digits in the scoring column.
UNC Asheville has continued to get outstanding production from the quartet of Jeremy Atkinson (17.7 ppg, 7.5 rig), Keith Hornsby (15.1 ppg, 4.2rpg), Trent Myer (10.0 ppg) and Will Weeks (12.5 ppg in league play). The Bulldogs are putting up 74.1 ppg in 11 league contests and have won by at least 10 points five times during the past eight victories.
Weeks was outstanding for UNC Asheville in Boiling Springs, connecting on 12-of-13 shots to finish with a career-best 27 points. Hornsby, Meyer and Atkinson also netted double figures that night.
Wednesday's game will be televised locally on WMYA-40 and will be available worldwide on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com) and the Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com). The game will also be carried as usual on WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org).