Naji Hibbert, Tyrell Nelson Earn Big South Conference Weekly Awards - GWUSports.com—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Courtesy: Heather Pendergraft
Naji Hibbert, Tyrell Nelson Earn Big South Conference Weekly Awards
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: December 02, 2013
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CHARLOTTE - Gardner-Webb guard Naji Hibbert and post player Tyrell Nelson each earned weekly awards from the Big South Conference Monday, as selected by the league office.

Hibbert (Baltimore, Md. / DeMatha Catholic / Texas A&M) was named Choice Hotels Big South Conference Player of the Week and Nelson (Charlotte, N.C. / Metrolina Christian Academy) was named Crons Brand Big South Conference Freshman of the Week.

Hibbert led Gardner-Webb in scoring in all three games last week, averaging 17.0 points per outing, but was at his best under the lights in Las Vegas.

In wins over IUPUI and Morehead State, Hibbert averaged 19.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting at a 53.8 percent rate from the floor (14-of-26) and from 3-point range (7-of-13). The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder also made 75.0 percent from the free throw stripe in Las Vegas.

In the title game win over a Morehead State team that entered with a strong 6-2 record, Hibbert pumped in a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, made 4-of-8 from downtown and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. He scored 15 in the win over IUPUI, sparked by 3-of-5 shooting from deep, and dished off three assists.

For the season, Hibbert has been a standout for Gardner-Webb, averaging a team-high 15.3 points and connecting on 15-of-36 from 3-point range (41.7 percent). Hibbert has also been unselfish, dishing off 2.1 assists per game.

His length has been bothersome for opposing guards on the perimeter, with 1.7 steals per game and three blocked shots – which both rank second on the team through eight games.

After missing most of the season opener at Xavier and all of the Furman game with an injury, a healthy Hibbert has returned to average 17.2 points in six starts – leading Gardner-Webb to a 4-2 mark in those games.

Nelson emerged as a legitimate low-post threat when the Runnin’ Bulldogs needed him most last week, averaging 12.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game to help GWU to a 2-1 record and the Upper Division Championship at the 2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.

The win marked Gardner-Webb’s second Thanksgiving Week tournament title in as many seasons, and Nelson was a major factor in the championship game win over Morehead State.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Nelson asserted himself against a much larger front line, posting a career-high 15 points and 11 rebounds, blocking two shots and taking away three steals in the 86-62 overtime victory - which was just his third career start.

Earlier in the week at Big Ten foe Northwestern, Nelson came off the bench to score 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and kept the game competitive down the stretch with 10 points in the second half.

Nelson started against IUPUI in the first game in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day, and supplied a solid eight points and seven rebounds in that win.

Nelson shot a very strong 71.4 percent on the week (15-of-21) and pulled down nine of his 23 rebounds on the offensive end. Nelson is averaging 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds through eight games (three starts) this season, and is shooting 61.0 percent from the floor.

Gardner-Webb (4-4) will host Wofford at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, December 4 in Paul Porter Arena – its first home game since November 19.

The game will air live on the Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com) and WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org). Fabian Fuentes will provide the call.




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