GWU men set for CIT first round
After completing its first 20-win season since its acceptance into NCAA Division I membership, the Gardner-Webb men's basketball team is ready for another milestone.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (21-12, 11-5 Big South) will host Eastern Kentucky (24-9, 12-4 OVC) in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) at 7 p.m. tonight at Paul Porter Arena.
Gardner-Webb won 10 of their last 11 games before losing to eventual Big South tournament champions Liberty by three in the semifinals. The loss the Liberty was just the second loss since Jan. 23.
Eastern Kentucky comes into the tournament after finishing second in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division, just two games behind NCAA tourney participant Belmont. The Colonels lost to Murray State in the OVC tournament semifinals.
"As you would expect in postseason play, this Eastern Kentucky team is very good and had a terrific year," said GWU head coach Chris Holtmann, in a press release. "They very easily could be playing in the NCAA Tournament."
The Colonels have an RPI of 69 according to RealTimeRPI.com and they won eight of their last 11 games. Eastern Kentucky went 15-1 at home while averaging 74.1 points per game during the regular season.
Guard’s Mike DiNunno (15.3 ppg), Glenn Cosey (14.8 ppg) and Corey Walden (12.6 ppg) power that offense, and have combined to sink 193-of-511 shots from 3-point range this season. DiNunno, a senior transfer from Northern Illinois, earned first-team All-OVC honors this season. Both Cosey and Walden earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer squad after transferring in from the junior college ranks.
The Colonels played two Big South Conference teams this season, topping eventual North Division champion High Point, 73-70, and beating Radford, 83-75.
"Based on their RPI, they are the best team we have played at home this season, and third-best team overall — higher than a Big Ten team like Iowa for example," Holtmann said.
The Runnin' Bulldogs went 2-0 against the Ohio Valley Conference this season, beating Austin Peay, 72-62 in Cancun, Mexico and dropping Tennessee Tech, 61-41 at Boiling Springs.
"It will be a tremendous challenge and one I'm sure our team and fans are looking forward to," Holtmann said.
Gardner-Webb sports information contributed to this report