FARMVILLE, Va. – Jamaal Robateau scored 22 points and Gardner-Webb controlled the backboards to hold off Longwood, 85-79, Saturday afternoon for an important Big South Conference road win.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (10-9, 3-3 Big South) improved to 2-1 away from home in league play this season, scoring 48 points in the paint and owning an impressive 21-8 edge in second-chance scoring.
Gardner-Webb out-rebounded Longwood (6-11, 3-3 Big South) by a 48-28 margin, pulling down 22 offensive boards. Tyrell Nelson had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, collecting nearly half of his caroms on the offensive glass.
Laquincy Rideau scored 10 of his 18 points in his first nine minutes on the court, and made several key defensive plays with four steals. He added five rebounds and five assists.
Gardner-Webb didn't shoot a high percentage early on, but its domination on the backboards allowed a slow stretch of its lead to double figures in the opening half. By the time the intermission buzzer sounded, the Runnin' Bulldogs held a comfortable 44-33 lead.
Led by Robateau's hot hand, Gardner-Webb extended its lead early in the second half. After Darrion Allen's three out of the locker room trimmed the GWU lead to 44-36, Robateau went on a personal 8-0 run – draining back-to-back triples for a 52-36 lead with 17:37 left in the game.
That would be Gardner-Webb's largest lead of the day, as Longwood began to work the margin closer by turning the Runnin' Bulldogs over and cutting down on the visitor's second-chance success.
After Robateau's jumper with 13:58 left pushed Gardner-Webb's lead to 60-45, the Lancers went on a 10-0 run to trim the lead to five.
The Runnin' Bulldogs answered and extended its margin back to double figures, but Longwood continued to try and force a frenetic pace with an aggressive defensive approach in the passing lanes – and with an effective full court press.
A three-pointer by Khris lane with 4:55 left in the game cut the lead to 72-66 and a pair of free throws by Isaiah Walton with 4:05 on the clock got the Lancers within four points (72-68).
A turnover underneath led to another easy layup for Longwood with 2:31 left, as Isaac Belton drove in to trim the lead to 74-70. With the Willett Hall crowd fully engaged, Gardner-Webb went back to the offensive glass – with Nelson following a missed shot with a put back for a 76-70 lead with 1:38 remaining. Nelson was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for a 77-70 advantage.
Longwood answered with a driving layup from Belton, but Rideau found O'Reilly open for a corner three-pointer with 1:01 on the clock for an 80-72 score. A three-pointer by JaShaun Smith with 34.4 seconds left cut the lead back to five and a pair of free throws by Walton made it a one-possession game – 82-79 – with 23.4 seconds left.
Rideau was able to break pressure before Longwood could foul on the ensuing possession, and found Robateau for a layup and an 84-79 lead. The West Palm Beach, Fla., sophomore then stole the inbounds pass with 6.4 seconds left and was fouled – making one of his free throws for the final margin.
The Runnin' Bulldogs shot 45.2 percent for the game (33-of-73) and overcame 21 turnovers to win. GWU forced 19 turnovers by Longwood, with 12 steals playing a major role.
Longwood got 22 points from Allen and 19 points each from Walton and Lane. The Lancers heated up in the second half, shooting 51.7 percent to finish at 49.2 percent (29-of-59) for the game.
Gardner-Webb will be back in action on Thursday night, traveling to Liberty for a 7:00 pm tip in the Vines Center.