FARMVILLE, Va. – Gardner-Webb treks to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the second time in 10 days Saturday, this time traveling to face Longwood at 2:00 pm.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (9-9, 2-3 Big South) will attempt to get back on track after a 76-60 setback at home to Campbell on Wednesday night – which snapped a two-game league win streak.
Longwood (6-10, 3-2 Big South) got off to a rousing start to Big South play, winning its first three to stand alone in first place last week. The Lancers were the last remaining unbeaten team in the league ranks, but have dropped two in a row.
Swingman Khris Lane (16.1 ppg) has been the go-to guy so far for Longwood and was at his best on Wednesday night in a loss to UNC Asheville. The Drexel transfer netted 32 points in that decision, knocking down 12-of-17 shots.
Lane is scoring at an even higher clip in Big South games (22.2 ppg) and scored 30 points in the league opener vs. Campbell (12/29).
Guards Darrion Allen (13.3 ppg) and Isaiah Walton (13.2 ppg) are also providing plenty of scoring punch for the Lancers, with Walton going 8-for-10 for 22 points in a win over Presbyterian on January 4. Both Allen and Walton have been effective from long range, leading Longwood in three-pointers made this season.
Gardner-Webb has been led this season by the trio of Laquincy Rideau (13.1 ppg), Tyrell Nelson (12.9 ppg) and David Efianayi (12.5 ppg). Efianayi has excelled in the role of sixth man, ranking among the nation's best in bench scoring.
Nelson, a preseason All-Big South selection, had 24 points earlier this season in Gardner-Webb's win at Nebraska – and netted 19 points in the road win at Radford. The Charlotte, N.C., native is the team's lone senior and paces the league with a 57.2 field goal percentage.
Rideau – in his first season as a starter – is the Big South's top assist man (89) and ranks second in steals (51). His scoring has taken a major leap with increased minutes. He is fast approaching the 100-rebound, 100-assist, 50-steal plateau for the season.
Wing Jamaal Robateau (9.4 ppg) has been effective in Big South Conference action, particularly from three-point range. The Australian junior is connecting on 12-of-30 shots from that distance (40.0 percent).
Gardner-Webb has won seven in a row in the series, but found itself in a dog fight last January in Willett Hall. The Runnin' Bulldogs captured a 67-66 win when Lane's jumper was off the mark at the buzzer. GWU held off a late charge by Longwood to win 81-71 on February 20 in the final home game of the season.
Saturday's game will stream live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com), with Chris Hemeyer and Ralph Patterson on the call.