CHARLESTON, S.C. – Donta Harper scored 13 points and Gardner-Webb dug in nicely on defense to lead from wire-to-wire in a 67-55 win at The Citadel Saturday afternoon at McAlister Field House.
The win was the first true road win for Gardner-Webb this season, and came despite a tough shooting performance from the perimeter (3-of-17).
The ‘Dogs switched defenses, and caused problems for The Citadel (3-8) with both its man and zone looks.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs led by as many as 14 in the opening half and owned a 35-26 lead at the break. The host Bulldogs slowly chipped away at Gardner-Webb’s lead in the second half, pulling to within four, 45-41, on a pair of Tom Koopman free throws with 10:23 remaining.
Isaiah Ivey answered for Gardner-Webb with a corner 3-pointer and Nelson converted an easy layup to work the margin back to nine points in less than a minute of game action.
Citadel would get as close as five points with 9:15 left on a Brian White layup, but Gardner-Webb answered with an 11-0 run that put the game away.
Hibbert scored four points in the run, and Onzie Branch converted on the break for a 61-45 lead – Gardner-Webb’s largest of the game – with 3:50 to play. Hibbert pushed the lead back to 16 with a jumper with 3:00 to play, and the hosts would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Gardner-Webb finished the day at 48.9 percent from the floor (23-of-47), made 18-of-27 free throws and forced 18 turnovers (nine steals).
Branch (six points, six rebounds) was active on the glass off the bench, along with Nelson (six rebounds) and Mike Byron (five rebounds). The Citadel did hold a 34-30 edge on the glass, but were outscored by Gardner-Webb 30-24 in the paint.
The Citadel got 13 points from White, who made 6-of-10 from the floor. Leading scorer Matt Van Scyoc finished with just five points and was only 1-for-7 from the floor – with his make coming on a follow dunk. C.J. Bray came off the bench to score 11, with most coming inside the paint. Ashton Moore also scored nine points off the bench for the Bulldogs.
The Citadel shot 38.0 percent from the floor (19-of-50) and made just 2-of-15 from long range (13.3 percent).
Gardner-Webb will break this week for final exams, before returning home to host Clearwater Christian (Fla.) on Saturday, December 14, in Paul Porter Arena.