BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb hosts in-state rival Campbell on Wednesday night, with the opening tip set for 7:00 in Paul Porter Arena.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (9-8, 2-2 Big South) are coming off a strong week that saw a pair of gritty wins – one on the road at Radford (70-59) and the other a snow-covered Saturday win at home vs. Charleston Southern (79-75).
Gardner-Webb has pounded the basketball inside with success over the past two games, scoring 100 combined points in the paint vs. the Highlanders and Buccaneers. All-Big South forward Tyrell Nelson shot a sizzling 78.9 percent last week (15-of-19), but wasn't the only inside presence who proved effective.
Slashing sixth-man David Efianayi, who ranks second on the team at 12.8 points per game, was at his best vs. Charleston Southern – scoring 21 points off the bench. The Orlando, Fla., sophomore shot 59.1 percent combined in last week's wins.
Point guard Laquincy Rideau, who was saddled with early foul trouble at Radford, came back with a strong performance vs. the Buccaneers. The West Palm Beach, Fla., sophomore scored 14 points, dished off nine assists (one turnover) and tied his career-high with nine boards to just miss out on a triple-double.
The strong post play – and the slashing drives of Efianayi and Rideau – helped Gardner-Webb shoot a combined 54.0 percent over the past week.
The Runnin' Bulldogs face a significant challenge on Wednesday night, as Campbell brings one of the league's most dangerous offenses to town. The Fighting Camels (9-7, 2-2 Big South) also feature an early favorite for Big South Conference Player of the Year in guard Chris Clemons.
The dynamic scorer – who has avoided any level of a sophomore slump – leads the circuit with a robust 23.3 points per game and has done so inside and out. Clemons has drained 3.06 three-pointers per game and has also gotten to the free throw line at a very high rate – knocking in 84.5 percent of his 97 attempts (82-of-97).
Forward Shane Whitfield (13.0 ppg) and guard Kyre' Hamer (9.5 ppg) have provided strong scoring as well – with forward Andrew Eudy patrolling the paint well. The 6-foot-7 Eudy leads the Big South with 31 blocked shots and is shooting an efficient 56.0 percent inside himself (5.8 ppg).
Wednesday night's game will stream live as usual on The Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com), with Fabian Fuentes calling the action.