LEXINGTON, Va. – Gardner-Webb hits the road again Saturday night, traveling to face VMI at 7:00 pm in a non-conference battle.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (3-4) and Keydets (1-5) will tangle live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com), with Wade Branner and Grafton Young providing the call online.
It is the second in a two-year series between the two programs, with the Keydets taking a 76-75 win over Gardner-Webb last December 21 in Boiling Springs. The two met 12 times previously as members of the Big South Conference, before VMI moved back to the Southern Conference following the 2013-2014 campaign.
VMI holds a 9-4 series lead, dating back to the 2008-2009 season.
Gardner-Webb is coming off an easy, 102-54, win over Division II Coker College – its second 100-point performance of the season in as many home games. The Runnin' Bulldogs have gotten used to life on the road, with Saturday's visit to Cameron Hall its fourth true road game of the young season.
Sixth man David Efianayi (15.4 ppg) continues to shine off the bench, leading Gardner-Webb in scoring while playing an efficient 22.4 minutes per game. The Orlando, Fla., sophomore leads the Big South in field goal percentage (62.9%) as well.
Point guard Laquincy Rideau (13.1 ppg) ranks second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg), assists (5.0) and steals (2.6) per game. All-Big South forward Tyrell Nelson (10.3 ppg) and veteran wing Jamaal Robateau (9.1 ppg) also provide scoring punch for a GWU offense that is averaging 78.6 points so far this season.
The Keydets continue to rely on scoring sensation Q.J. Peterson, who burst onto the scene as a true freshman in the program's final Big South season. Peterson leads VMI with an average of 22.0 points per game – not surprising for a standout guard who has scored 1,744 points with an eye on joining the Keydets' 2,000-point club before the end of his career in Lexington.
Peterson had 22 points to lead VMI to its one-point win in Paul Porter Arena last season.
Wing Julian Eleby (12.7 ppg) has also been a steady scorer this season, highlighted by a 29-point outburst in a season-opening loss at Richmond. VMI dropped that game, 72-69, to the Atlantic 10 Spiders despite Eleby's seven triples.
Gardner-Webb will be the fourth Big South Conference opponent the Keydets have faced in a row. VMI recently dropped road games at Presbyterian and Radford, while falling to Campbell at home.