You’ve read the recap. Now, let’s go inside the numbers of Gardner-Webb’s wild win Thursday over Winthrop.
- In the eight years I’ve covered Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey, he’s expressed to assembled media and me probably hundreds of times his desire to have a strong offensive rebounding team. His Eagles certainly lived up to that billing Thursday, snaring 20 offensive rebounds, to Gardner-Webb’s five. The advantage was 15-1, at one stage. However…
- The Eagles also committed 20 turnovers in the contest, with the final miscue coming on their penultimate possession. This is just the third time Winthrop has committed 20 turnovers or greater in a game this year, and — get this — just the first time the Eagles have lost in such a situation. Winthrop turned it over 22 times against Longwood and 25 against Presbyterian, and respectively won those games by 24 and 15.
- To that same point, Gardner-Webb recorded more steals (10) than it committed turnovers of its own (nine).
- In its two losses this week that snapped Winthrop’s unbeaten string atop the Big South, Kelsey’s club has hit 52-of-125 tries from the floor (41.6%) and 22-for-63 from three (34.9%). Radford and Gardner-Webb shot 58-for-111 (52.3%) from the deck and 12-for-40 (30%) from beyond the arc. The big number? 80-52 on points in the paint in those two games — and the 80 is not in Winthrop’s favor. The pack line has struggled to deny straight-line drives and passing lanes over those two contests.
- Gardner-Webb has tremendously benefitted from the development of center Ludovic Dufeal this season. The sophomore — who sparingly played last year during the conference slate — played 24 minutes Thursday. Despite only tallying five points, he snared eight rebounds, blocked five shots, and recorded two steals. The effort turned in by Dufeal and freshman Kareem Reid on star Winthrop center DJ Burns proved to be a significant storyline in the victory.
“I think both our big guys (have developed). Five blocks tonight for (Dufeal), and eight rebounds. I think he’s come a long way, and he’s a big part of what we’re doing — and Kareem Reid, as well. Both of our post players bring a ton to our team.” – Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft
- Winthrop guards Hunter Hale and Chandler Vaudrin were held to 5-for-18 from the floor, though Hale knocked down a triple that drew the Eagles within a point late in the game. Gardner-Webb’s Jaheam Cornwall and Nate Johnson spoke after the game of the need to neutralize the veteran guards.
“Last time — we just had the last game (a 99-95, three-overtime loss at Winthrop) on our mind. They scored way too many points, and we allowed them to score. All this week, we’ve just been practicing defense, (and) how to guard them well. When the game started, we just did it right.” – Cornwall
- Gardner-Webb seems to have a different energy. Kelsey noted after Monday night’s game that the Runnin’ Bulldogs looked as if they’d been “shot out of a cannon”. I asked forward Eric Jamison about the difference.
“We’ve just got that fight for each other. We don’t want to give up on the season, even though we took a downhill slide mid-season. We’re finding new juice, new energy, just a new feel for the game, and we’re just going with it. We’ll see how far we can go.” – Jamison
- Winthrop’s Charles Falden recently commented to The Rock Hill Herald‘s Alex Zietlow and me in media availability that he’s been working to regain his form and conquer some of the struggles he’s encountered this season. Falden took another positive step forward Thursday, scoring 13 points on 4-for-8 from the floor (2-for-4 from three) and hauling in six boards in just 15 minutes of play.
- The Eagles’ struggles from the free throw line continued to haunt them Thursday. Winthrop came into the game next-to-last in free throw shooting at just over 63 percent per game, and the Eagles shot 61.1 percent (11-for-18) in the loss. Gardner-Webb shot an identical percentage — on an identical amount of tries — on the night.
- Finally, to the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Gardner-Webb 38, Winthrop 30
- Points off turnovers: Gardner-Webb 23, Winthrop 14
- Second-chance points: Winthrop 14, Gardner-Webb 7
- Fast-break points: Winthrop 6, Gardner-Webb 6
- Bench points: Winthrop 28, Gardner-Webb 8
- Gardner-Webb played just seven players, totaling 36 minutes (of 200) off the bench. Kareem Reid had all eight pine points in 16 minutes on 4-for-6 shooting.
GARDNER-WEBB 74, WINTHROP 70
WINTHROP (18-9, 12-2 BIG SOUTH): Ferguson 3-9 1-2 8, Burns 6-13 0-4 12, Anumba 2-3 0-1 5, Hale 3-10 1-1 9, Vaudrin 2-8 2-2 8, Jones 2-5 2-2 7, Falden 4-8 3-4 13, King 0-1 0-0 0, Zunic 0-2 0-0 0, Claxton 3-3 2-2 8. Totals 25-62 11-18.
GARDNER-WEBB (11-14, 7-6): Jamison 9-14 4-8 23, Dufeal 1-3 3-4 5, Cornwall 6-12 2-4 17, Turner 1-4 0-0 2, Johnson 7-14 2-2 19, Jenkins 0-3 0-0 0, Reid 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 28-56 11-18 74.
Halftime — Gardner-Webb 30-25. 3-Point Goals—Winthrop 9-27 (Ferguson 1-7, Burns 0-1, Anumba 1-1, Hale 2-5, Vaudrin 2-5, Jones 1-3, Falden 2-4, Zunic 0-1), Gardner-Webb 7-21 (Jamison 1-2, Dufeal 0-1, Cornwall 3-6, Johnson 3-9, Jenkins 0-3). Fouled Out — NA. Rebounds —Winthrop 46 (Burns 7), Gardner-Webb 27 (Dufeal 8). Assists —Gardner-Webb 17 (Turner 8), Winthrop 15 (Vaudrin 4). Total Fouls —Gardner-Webb 16, Winthrop 14. Technical — NA. A —2351.
CURRENT BIG SOUTH STANDINGS