Runnin' Bulldogs roll past Spalding, 83-54
Three players scored in double-figures — led by Kevin Hartley and Tashan Newsome — as the Gardner-Webb men's basketball team cruised to an 83-54 win over Spalding (Kent.) Saturday at Paul Porter Arena.
Gardner-Webb led by as many as 18 in the first half and as many as 34 in the second half against the overmatched Golden Eagles (3-5).
Donta Harper added 13 points for the Runnin' Bulldogs (8-6), who are off to their best start since the 2004-2005 season.
"I'm proud of our focus today," said Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtmann. "We need to continue to improve each and every day."
Newsome scored in a variety of ways, knocking down 7-of-10 shots from the floor. He added six rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 22 minutes of action – as Gardner-Webb went deep into its bench Saturday afternoon for long stretches.
Hartley draining 4-of-5 shots from long range. He added nine rebounds, three assists and a steal in an efficient 19 minutes of action. The Klein, Texas, native tied his career-high scoring total set earlier this season in the win at DePaul.
Gardner-Webb owned a 25-8 edge in points off of turnovers. A stout GWU defense held the Golden Eagles 31 points below their season scoring average.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to early leads of 17-5 and 26-10 over the game's first 11 minutes, and Spalding would find itself in a 38-20 hole with 2 minutes, 16 seconds remaining before intermission. GWU led 41-27 at the break.
The Runnin' Bulldogs stormed on a 16-4 run early in the second half to take a 59-33 lead with 12:17 to go, and the Golden Eagles would get no closer than 23 the rest of the way. An Onzie Branch layup with 7:56 to play gave Gardner-Webb its first 30-point cushion of the game, and Gardner-Webb would rest its starters for the final four minutes.
Spalding got 19 points from Dewhon McAfee on a tough 7-of-21 shooting night (2-of-10 from three-point range). McAfee, who entered Saturday averaging 26.0 ppg, scored eight of his points in the game's final 2:48.
Forward Renaldo Moore came off the bench to score eight points and three other Golden Eagles finished the game with six. Spalding shot 41.2 percent for the game (21-of-51) and 6-of-22 from long distance (27.3 percent).
The Runnin' Bulldogs shot 49.2 percent from the floor (29-of-59), drained nearly half of its three-point attempts (6-of-13, 46.2 percent) and had one of its best games of the season at the free throw line (19-of-24, 79.2 percent).
"[The non-conference] season has given us plenty of positive moments," Holtmann said. "It has also provided us with opportunities to see where we need to make significant improvements."
The Runnin' Bulldogs will have an extended break from basketball as they will not return to the court until their Big South Conference opener at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 at Campbell.