BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Gardner-Webb will hit the road again Wednesday night in Big South men's basketball action, traveling to face in-state rival Campbell at 7:00 pm.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (12-11, 5-5 Big South) started the second half of the league season with an ultra-efficient offensive effort, averaging 1.214 points per possession and shooting 60.9 percent from the floor to beat Charleston Southern on the road Saturday.
Gardner-Webb has gotten a lift off the bench of late from sophomore D.J. Laster, who scored a career-high 20 points last week in a two-point loss to first-place Winthrop. The Pensacola, Fla., forward added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the Charleston Southern win – and has made 10-of-14 from the floor over the past two games.
The Runnin' Bulldogs have also increased its effectiveness from the charity stripe of late – shooting a solid 70.7 percent over the past five games. Forward Tyrell Nelson has been particularly impressive during that same stretch, making 22-of-24 free throws (91.7 percent).
Nelson (13.2 ppg), Laquincy Rideau (13.4 ppg) and David Efianayi (12.3 ppg) continue to pace the 'Dogs in scoring, with Rideau also leading the Big South Conference in assists (4.8) and steals (3.1) per game. He had seven assists in the Charleston Southern win to go with a team-high 17 points.
Campbell (11-11, 4-6 Big South) dropped a home game to first-place Liberty on Saturday, but has the confidence of a decisive, 76-60, win over Gardner-Webb back on January 11 in Boiling Springs. Scoring standout Chris Clemons was sensational in that victory, scoring 28 points – inside and out – to pace the Fighting Camels that evening.
In addition to Clemons – who leads the Big South in scoring at 22.9 ppg – the Fighting Camels have gotten strong production from forward Shane Whitfield (12.7 ppg) and Kyre' Hamer (9.6 ppg). Whitfield went for 19 points in the win over Gardner-Webb in mid-January.
Campbell has scored the basketball well, averaging 73.5 ppg as a team, and is one of the Big South's most dangerous three-point shooting teams – knocking down 37.3 percent of its 459 chances from long range. Clemons and Whitfield have also been persistent at the free throw line, each making more than 100 so far in 22 games.
Wednesday's game will stream live on The Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com), with Chris Heymeyer and Jerry Smith on the call from Gore Arena.