By: Jared McMurry
Battling Charleston Southern (18-10, 12-5), the first place team in the Big South, Gardner-Webb (18-12, 10-7) men’s basketball coach honored his four seniors by implementing them into the starting lineup.
Tyler Strange and Jarvis Davis have started all season long, but Corey Hensley and fan favorite walk-on, Adam Sweeney, both got the nod. The four seniors helped the Runnin’ Bulldogs off to a fast start on their way to a 91-81 victory.
“I’m just ecstatic that our four seniors could go out with a win like this,” Head Coach Tim Craft said.
The senior class will go out with the most wins as a class in Gardner-Webb division one history.
Tyler Strange, who is second in the nation in assists on the season, ended his home career on a high scoring note. Strange started the game five for five behind the arc in the first half helping his team to a 44-37 lead at the break.
“God has blessed me all four years here and my entire life,” Strange said. “This place is so special to me.” The Gardner-Webb guard also noted that he doesn’t think his team had hit their stride yet.
Charleston Southern was unable to make much of a push in the second half, trailing by 12 at the under 16 media timeout. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to keep the lead consistently around double digits the rest of the way.
After a lights out shooting performance from deep in the first half, Gardner-Webb turned to their post presence much of the second half as Tyrell Nelson and Jerome Hill combined for 27 of the Runnin’ Bulldogs 47 second half points. Hill and Nelson both put up 18 points on the night.
Despite giving up 81 points, the Gardner-Webb defense stepped up holding the Buccaneers to five of 18 shooting from behind the arc.
Charleston Southern’s Saah Nimley and Gardner-Webb’s Strange both posted a game high 23 points.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs will return to action Saturday as they face off against Radford on the road before traveling to Conway, South Carolina for the Big South Conference Tournament next week.
“It will be a quick turnaround, and we are really going to have to handle their pressure,” Coach Craft said.