CHARLOTTE – Gardner-Webb's February 23 home game vs. UNC Asheville has been selected as the final Big South Conference Wildcard game of the season by ESPNU.
Opening tip is now set for 9:00 pm in Paul Porter Arena for the nationally-televised game. Robert Lee (play-by-play) and Nate Ross (color analyst) will provide the call.
The game will also serve as the home finale for Gardner-Webb, and senior night for All-Big South Conference forward Tyrell Nelson (Charlotte, N.C. / Metrolina Christian).
The two teams engaged in an exciting battle on New Year's Eve in Asheville, N.C., with UNC Asheville escaping with a 90-85 overtime win at Kimmel Arena. Jamaal Robateau's three-pointer at the buzzer sent the game to overtime. He and Laquincy Rideau led the Runnin' Bulldogs with 16 points each in that game.
Asheville picked up 25 points from freshman sensation MaCio Teague, with sharpshooter David Robertson adding 23.
Rideau currently leads Gardner-Webb in scoring (13.8 ppg) and leads the nation with 79 steals. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound lead guard also paces the Big South in assists (4.8 apg) and is on pace to finish the season with 150 rebounds, 150 assists and 100 steals.
Nelson (13.3 ppg) and David Efianayi (12.4 ppg) are also scoring at a high level for the Runnin' Bulldogs (14-11, 7-5 Big South).
Asheville is led by swingman Ahmad Thomas (17.4 ppg), who ranks just behind Rideau nationally with 77 steals. Teague (15.1 ppg) also averages in double figures for the first-place Bulldogs (18-7, 10-2 Big South) – who enter this week locked in a three-way tie with Winthrop and Liberty.
The ESPNU selection is the fourth and final men's basketball game to be chosen for broadcast this season. It marks the third season in a row that Gardner-Webb has been selected to host one of the league's Wildcard games – with GWU hosting Radford (2015) and Charleston Southern (2016) in previous seasons.