CLINTON, S.C. – David Efianayi scored 15 points to lead five men in double figures, and Gardner-Webb scored 30 points off of turnovers to beat Presbyterian, 84-56, Saturday night on the road.
Gardner-Webb (16-13, 9-7 Big South) clinched a first-round by in the upcoming Big South Conference Tournament with the win and won its eighth in a row against the Blue Hose (5-22, 1-15 Big South).
The Runnin' Bulldogs led by as many as 11 points in the first half, before Presbyterian trimmed that lead to 39-32 by intermission – with hot-shooting guard Will Adams keeping the Blue Hose within striking distance by making three long-range jumpers before the break.
Gardner-Webb led just 49-44 with 13:09 left, but a short jumper by Jamaal Robateau sparked a 20-5 run – which included a mini 8-0 run off of PC turnovers – to put the game out of reach and give GWU a 71-49 lead with 5:49 left to play.
The lead would grow to to its height on Patrick Zeck's three-point play with 13 seconds left in the game – a play that provided the final margin of victory.
Gardner-Webb sizzled at 64.0 percent in the second half – finishing at 50.9 percent for the game (28-of-55). GWU made 20 free throws, scored 36 points in the paint and turned 23 Presbyterian turnovers into a 30-8 edge in transition points.
GWU made 16 layups and dunks in the game and averaged a solid 1.12 points per possession. The Runnin' Bulldogs led from wire-to-wire.
In addition to Efianayi, Laquincy Rideau added 13 points, Robateau had 12 and both Tyrell Nelson and Liam O'Reilly scored 10. Rideau added eight rebounds, four steals and four assists on the night – as Gardner-Webb had 15 steals as a team.
Presbyterian cooled to 39.1 percent in the second half to allow Gardner-Webb to pull away and averaged just 0.73 points per possession. The Blue Hose shot just 41.3 percent (19-of-46) for the game and made only 14-of-24 free throws (58.3 percent).
Adams was the scoring standout, netting 21 points on 4-of-6 shooting from long range. Reggie Dillard and Ed Drew each scored seven points before fouling out.
Gardner-Webb returns home for a big game on Thursday, hosting first-place UNC Asheville at 9:00 pm in Paul Porter Arena. The game will air live in front of a national television audience on ESPNU.
Call GWU athletics at (704) 406-4340 for ticket information.