BOILING SPRINGS – Laquincy Rideau had a double-double with 15 points and a school-record 10 steals as Gardner-Webb cruised to a 78-61 win over Presbyterian at home Saturday afternoon.
Rideau (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Ely HS) added seven rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes for the Runnin' Bulldogs (11-10, 4-4 Big South). He scored the first six points of the game – and had four of his steals in the first five minutes of action to help Gardner-Webb get out to a quick 10-2 lead.
That early run would eventually stretch to 19-5 and the Blue Hose (4-15, 0-8 Big South) would not get the lead under double digits the rest of the way. Gardner-Webb led wire-to-wire.
Presbyterian dropped its 10th in a row with Saturday's loss and seventh in a row in the series.
Tyrell Nelson added 13 points and David Efianayi and Liam O'Reilly each scored 12 to round out a balanced scoring effort by Gardner-Webb. Rideau's ball-hawking effort was part of a larger effort that forced 22 turnovers (19 steals) and helped GWU hold a 24-8 edge in points off of turnovers – including a 15-4 edge on the break.
Leading 38-24 at the break, Gardner-Webb opened the second half with a 19-6 run that put the game on ice by the 13:37 mark. Efianayi's layup off a steal and pass from center Brandon Miller put the Runnin' Bulldogs up 57-30.
Gardner-Webb had a pair of crowd-thrilling dunks and a trio of three-pointers during the run, with scoring distributed between seven different players. Rideau opened the half with a layup and nailed a triple with 18:46 left to put the 'Dogs up 45-24.
Jamaal Robateau drained a three off a Rideau assist with 17:54 left to put GWU up by 24 and Efianayi hammered home a dunk – again off an assist from Rideau – for a 50-26 lead moments later. D.J. Laster's steal and dunk in transition pushed the lead to 52-26 with 16:08 to play and – after the Blue Hose scored four in a row – O'Reilly knocked down a three-pointer and Efianayi sank a layup for the 57-30 advantage.
Presbyterian would eventually trim the margin back into the teens – with Darius Moore connecting on a barrage of three-pointers midway through the half – but would not make a serious threat the rest of the way.
Gardner-Webb shot 44.6 percent for the game and knocked down 10-of-25 from beyond the arc (40.0 percent). The Runnin' Bulldogs made 18-of-26 free throws (69.2 percent) as well, and assisted on 18 of their 25 made baskets.
Rideau's steal total broke his previous school mark – seven – set on November 18, 2015 vs. Warren Wilson. The sophomore point guard's previous best this season came in Gardner-Webb's win at Nebraska on December 18 – when he pilfered six steals from the Cornhuskers.
Rideau's effort Saturday tied the Big South record in a league game, equaling the mark set twice by Charleston Southern's Tony Fairley in 1987 – vs. UNC Asheville (1/29/97) and Armstrong State (2/9/87). VMI's Travis Holmes holds the Big South record (11), setting that mark vs. Bridgewater College (1/18/07).
Presbyterian got a game-high 18 points from point forward Reggie Dillard, who added six assists and just one turnover in 36 minutes. Freshman standout Jo'Vontae Miller added 12 points and Moore heated up in the second half from deep – scoring 11 of his 13 points after intermission.
The Blue Hose shot 42.9 percent for the game, playing Gardner-Webb even (28-28) in the paint, but shot just 4-of-13 from long range (30.8 percent) and were hampered heavily by their 22 turnovers.
Gardner-Webb will remain at home for its next game, a visit from first-place Winthrop on Thursday, January 26. Opening tip is set for 7:00 pm in Paul Porter Arena (Big South Network).