HIGH POINT, N.C. – Austin White's jumper was just long at the horn and Gardner-Webb held on for an 88-86 overtime win on the road over High Point in both teams' regular season finale.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (18-13, 11-7 Big South) won their fourth straight and secured the No. 4 seed in next week's Big South Conference quarterfinals. Gardner-Webb and High Point will have a rematch at 9:00 pm in Rock Hill, S.C., on Thursday, March 2.
Laquincy Rideau scored 15 of his team-high 22 points in the second half and overtime to lead Gardner-Webb. The West Palm Beach, Fla., sophomore finished with nine assists, five rebounds and one steal despite sitting the final 12:50 of the first half in foul trouble.
Gardner-Webb hit its first two shots – three-pointers from O'Reilly and Robateau – to go up 76-70 quickly in the overtime period and led by nine points with 34.3 seconds left after a Brandon Miller free throw.
High Point (15-15, 9-9 Big South) pulled within seven points on a Tarique Thompson layup with 24.3 seconds remaining and senior Anthony Lindauer pulled off a steal and nailed a three with 17.7 ticks left to send the crowd into a frenzy and trim the Gardner-Webb lead to 87-73.
Rideau made the second of two free throws with 13.1 seconds remaining, but the Panthers pulled within two when Lindauer drained another trey – just his second made bucket of the game – to make the score 88-86 with 7.2 seconds left.
A pair of misses at the line on the other end with 6.5 seconds left gave High Point the ball back, but White's jumper from the right side after dribbling end to end was off the back of the iron.
Gardner-Webb had a chance to win in regulation, but Rideau's three-pointer missed with 1.5 seconds left and the clock ran down to zeros.
Gardner-Webb trailed 36-34 at the break, but Rideau and Robateau hit back-to-back layups for a 43-40 lead.
High Point's Andre Fox scored his team's first seven points of the second half, and tied the game on an old-fashioned three-point play with 15:42 to play.
The two teams traded blows for the next 10 minutes, with Gardner-Webb holding onto the lead until Thompson sank a baseline jumper with 4:01 to play to put High Point back on top.
The lead was short lived, as Laster converted a jump hook on the baseline – but Andre Fox scored in the lane to give High Point the advantage on the next possession.
Laster used another jump hook to give Gardner-Webb a 70-68 lead with 1:28 left and the 'Dogs had the ball with less than one minute left with Rideau corralled a High Point miss. O'Reilly got free for an open 15-footer with 33 seconds remaining to beat the shot clock, but Fox was fouled on the rebound with 31.0 seconds remaining.
Fox made both free throws to tie the score again, setting up a final shot for Gardner-Webb. Rideau dribbled down the game clock as far as possible, looked inside then put up a three-pointer that just missed off the back rim with 1.5 seconds left. Brandon Miller ran down the loose ball, but the horn sounded to send the game into overtime.
Miles Bowman, Jr., was the story of the game early in the first half, going on a personal 8-0 run to put High Point in front early. The Panthers took a 10-2 lead on a baseline jumper from Fox, before Gardner-Webb began to chip away at the lead.
Gardner-Webb eventually took the lead, with Laster using his short game to put the 'Dogs up 32-31 with less than two minutes in the half. High Point went inside to Ricky Madison to retake the lead and got free throws from Lindauer and Bowman to take a 36-34 lead at the half.
Gardner-Webb shot just 43.8 percent for the game, but hit 9-of-19 from long range – including a 3-for-4 effort in overtime. GWU also made 14-of-16 free throws in the first half, offsetting a cool shooting start that saw only nine field goals go through the net in the first 20 minutes.
The Runnin' Bulldogs controlled the glass (42-35) and scored 17 second-chance points in a tight game that featured 10 lead changes and five ties.
High Point got a game-high 24 points from Bowman and 19 from Fox – with Fox scoring 15 of his total in the second half. Thompson netted 17 points and Lindauer scored 10 – as that senior duo, along with Bowman combined to score 51 points on Senior Day at the Millis Center.
The Panthers shot 45.8 percent for the game and was sizzling from the charity stripe as the offense cooled in the second half. High Point finished an impressive 27-of-31 at the stripe (87.1 percent), including a perfect 6-of-6 in overtime.
The win by Gardner-Webb on the road marks the second time in two seasons that the two programs have split the regular-season series – with each winning on the road on both occasions.
Thursday's game will air live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com) at 9:00 pm. It will be the fourth quarterfinal of the day at Winthrop Coliseum.