Longwood will look to snap a twelve game losing streak against a team coming off a huge win on the road. Gardner-Webb is coming off a one point overtime victory to Charleston Southern, who most consider to be the best team in the conference. While the Bulldogs are looking to stabilize their up and down season, Longwood is just looking to play competitive basketball after being blown out by division rival High Point on Wednesday.
Gardner-Webb has already matched their win total from a year ago behind third year head coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs put together an impressive out-of-conference resume knocking off Big East member DePaul and winning the division of the Cancun Challenge. Gardner-Webb also nearly knocked off Illinois, but lost on a buzzer beater.
GWU lacks star power but they are a deep team. Leading the way are Donta Harper and Tashan Newsome, who combine for nearly 27 points per game. Both are also solid rebounders with over 5 rebounds per game. 5’9 guard Tyler Strange has also become a bit of a headache as he’s averaging 4 assists per game and paces the Bulldogs on offense. Overall Gardner-Webb struggles to score every now and then, but what they lack on the offensive end they make up for with really solid defense.
There is no clear cut answer for Longwood. The team has looked deflated and almost disinterested in their last two road games at High Point and Liberty, two games where they lost by 56 points combined. Longwood has to try to recapture the game they brought on the road to UNC Asheville. Longwood was solid from downtown in that game and gave total effort on both sides of the floor. They likely would have won the game with better clock management and decision making in the last 35 seconds of the game.
This will be the ninth meeting all-time for the two teams. Longwood holds the advantage at 5-3 right now. The two teams have not met since November 2008 when Longwood pulled out an 85-84 win behind an 18 point performance by Dana Smith. Nik Brown’s availability is still unknown after suffering a concussion a couple of weeks ago.