Delaware State (12-11) at Gardner-Webb (11-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Paul Porter Arena (3,500) -- Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: DSU 6-4, GWU 8-3. Away Record: DSU 6-7, GWU 3-13. Neutral Record: DSU 0-0, GWU 0-1. Conference Record: DSU 9-3, GWU 6-10. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs and the Delaware State Hornets plays out this evening at Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, North Carolina as part of the annual BracketBusters event.
The Hornets are one hot team right now, ripping off eight consecutive wins thanks to a 73-63 overtime triumph versus Norfolk State on the road this past Wednesday night. Even though DSU is just one game over .500 overall this season (12-11), the team has been meeting the challenge when facing the rest of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and is close to the top of the league standings with a record of 9-3.
As for the Runnin' Bulldogs out of the Big South Conference, they failed to find any love from Charleston Southern on Valentine's Day in a 73-58 setback on the road in South Carolina. The defeat was the fifth in the last six outings for the program and dropped it to 6-10 in conference play, which is one spot out of last place.
After shooting an awful 7-of-26 from the floor in the first half against Norfolk State, the Hornets got their act together and managed to force overtime where they took over and captured the 10-point win on the road at Echols Hall. With the reserves contributing a mere two points, it was up to the starters to get the job done and that's exactly what Tahj Tate accomplished as he tallied 25 points, followed by Casey Walker with 16 and Jay Threatt 13 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists for the visitors. Tate, the leading scorer for the Hornets in three of the last four outings, is now hitting for 16.9 ppg, followed by Walker with 12.7 ppg, although the latter is shooting just 40.2 percent from the floor. Marques Oliver accounts for 10.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per outing but still the program is being beaten on the glass by five rebounds per game at this juncture.
The Runnin' Bulldogs failed to produce a single player in double figures earlier this week in the road loss to Charleston Southern. Laron Buggs and Tashan Newsome came close with nine points apiece as they both shot 3-of-5 from the floor and made one three-pointer in the setback. As a group, Gardner- Webb shot only 7-of-21 behind the three-point line and was charged with 17 turnovers, which the hosts traded in for 28 points on the night. Through 28 games, of which he has appeared in 25 and started 22, Newsome leads the team in scoring with 11.4 ppg, although his mere 16.7 percent shooting behind the three-point line has been hurting the program more than anything else. The only other double-digit scorer at the current time is Max Landis with his 10.3 ppg, picking up some of the slack out on the perimeter where he has knocked down 55-of-161 (.342).
Delaware State has been on a wildly successful run over the last month or so, but that came only after the team dropped eight in a row, so there is certainly the potential for the Hornets to fall back into bad habits tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gardner-Webb 66, Delaware State 63
02/18 10:30:58 ET