LEXINGTON, Va. – Gardner-Webb shot a sizzling 58.6 percent to run away with an 86-68 road win at VMI Saturday night in non-conference men's basketball action.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (4-4) jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead and pushed that margin to 20-10 with 12:14 remaining in the first half. VMI responded with a 14-5 run of its own over the next five minutes, cutting the lead to 25-24 with 7:39 left in the half.
The Keydets would not be able to pull even, however, as Gardner-Webb held the lead for all but the first 2:01 of the game. VMI made a jumper to lead 2-0 until GWU took the lead for good on a L'Hassane Niangane free throw with 17:23 left in the opening half.
After the Keydets (1-6) cut back into Gardner-Webb's lead on a Julian Eleby triple with 5:04 on the clock, the Runnin' Bulldogs went on a 16-6 spurt – taking a 49-37 lead into the break by scoring the half's final eight points.
The 'Dogs used another big run to start the second half, going on a 19-9 spurt over the first 7:32 to go up 68-46 on consecutive buckets from D.J. Laster – a dunk and a layup – with 12:18 to play. A 12-2 response by the Keydets cut the lead to 70-58 with 9:05 remaining, but the lead would not shrink below 11 points the rest of the way.
Tyrell Nelson led the Runnin' Bulldogs with a season-high 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The All-Big South forward added six rebounds and a pair of assists in 29 minutes.
Nelson's efforts helped Gardner-Webb own a 52-18 edge in paint scoring.
Rideau scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half, finishing the game with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Robateau was also hot early, making his first four shots to finish with 10 of his 17 points in the opening period.
The junior from Sunshine Coast, Australia, added four rebounds and four steals in a strong overall performance on the wing.
Gardner-Webb averaged 1.2 points per its 70 possessions Saturday night and led for 37:23 of the 40 minutes.
VMI got a game-high 22 points from forward Trey Chapman, 15 points from Eleby and 11 points from leading scorer Q.J. Peterson. The Keydets shot 44.4 percent for the game (24-of-54) and kept the game from getting out of hand for much of the night by nailing 11-of-25 from long distance (44.0 percent). Eleby made 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Gardner-Webb will return home for three-straight games in Paul Porter Arena, beginning with Hampton on Wednesday night (December 7). Opening tip against the Pirates is set for 7:00 pm (Big South Network).