Gardner-Webb (4-3) vs. Mercer (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 28th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kaplan Arena (8,600) -- Williamsburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Gardner-Webb 2-0, Mercer 1-1. Away Record: Gardner-Webb 1-3, Mercer 0-3. Neutral Record: Gardner-Webb 1-0, Mercer 1-0. Conference Record: Gardner-Webb 0-0, Mercer 0-0. Series Record: Gardner-Webb leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: On the final day of the Legends Classic, the Mercer Bears will meet the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs this afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
The Bulldogs snapped a two-game slide on Saturday with a 71-65 victory over Western Carolina. It was the fourth win for Gardner-Webb, which opened this event with a heartbreaking, 56-55 setback to William & Mary. After this tournament the Bulldogs will remain on the road and will take on High Point in their Big South Conference opener.
As for the Bears, they opened this tournament with a 71-66 decision over Western Carolina, but followed that with a 57-52 setback to William & Mary on Saturday. It was the fourth loss on the year for Mercer, which dropped three in a row after opening the season with a 67-44 victory over Oglethorpe University.
In terms of the all-time series between the two schools, the Runnin' Bulldogs own a slim 6-4 edge over Mercer.
The Bulldogs had possibly their best overall performance on this young season against Western Carolina on Saturday. Gardner-Webb shot a mediocre 41.2 percent from the floor, but used a strong 24-of-31 clip from the foul line. The Bulldogs won the battle on the boards by an 11-rebounds margin, and that led to a 26-12 edge in points scored in the paint. Jon Moore only shot 1-of-8 from the floor in the matchup, but still managed to finish with 12 points, and so did Laron Buggs, who also grabbed six boards. Moore has been the best option on the year for Gardner-Webb, and is the only player posting double- figures with 13.9 ppg. Josh Henley contributed 10 points off the bench, while Mike Byron also tallied 10 points, to go along with seven rebounds.
The Bears were unable to overcome their poor performance in the first half against William & Mary and eventually fell to the Tribe. Mercer shot a woeful 28.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes of action, and for the game the team posted a 33.9 percent effort, which included an 11-of-30 clip from long range. Jeff Smith, who is leading the team with 15.8 ppg, added 23 points in the loss to the Tribe, while Brian Mills (10.5 ppg) tallied 13 points, to go along with a team-high six rebounds. As for Brandon Moore, who is leading the team with 6.5 rpg, while also contributing 11.5 ppg, he missed all seven of his shots in the matchup and finished with just one point and three turnovers.
The Bulldogs have found ways to win this season, but the team just needs to string the victories together. Look for Gardner-Webb to start a winning streak this evening with a close decision over Mercer.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gardner-Webb 67, Mercer 56
11/28 10:31:39 ET