BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – It’s not every day college basketball teams get a 35-day halftime break.
After their game from January 20 was suspended due to a shot clock malfunction, Hampton and Gardner-Webb resumed pleasantries Monday night. The second matchup – or half of one – went to the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Five Runnin’ Bulldog scorers finished in double figures as Gardner-Webb shot 52.9 percent on the way to an 81-67 victory Monday night.
“I was just glad to see the way that we started. It’s kind of this weird situation – plus, we were up eight (Gardner-Webb led 39-31 at the half),” said Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft. “I thought, offensively, we were ready to make plays and make shots, and they are really hard to guard. They were hard to guard tonight, too.”
Gardner-Webb (13-15, 9-7 Big South) started strong, quickly moving its advantage into double digits and stretching the lead to 16 four minutes into the second half. The 12-4 burst prompted Hampton coach Buck Joyner to request a stoppage to right the ship.
Hampton (13-16, 8-8) never seemed to fully recover from the initial charge. The Runnin’ Bulldogs extended their lead out of the respite, then held the Pirates at arm’s length for the remainder of the game. Hampton never drew closer than 12, as Marrow sank two free throws with 1:18 to play.
Ben Stanley led all scorers with 20 points for the Pirates, but was held to just four in Monday’s second half. Marrow scored 12 in the half and 17 for the game. Davion Warren tallied 10 in the second half to finish with 12. The Pirates shot 29.7 percent on 37 second-half tries, connecting on just 2-of-14 attempts from distance.
“I thought (the defense on Marrow) was good early, and then when we got the lead (in) the last two minutes, it’s just so hard,” said Craft. “He’s just going to put his head down, and he kind of drives it into you. He puts you in a tough spot. He’s great at getting fouled. When we tried not to foul him, he laid them in.
“We really challenged our fives to really keep (Stanley) from getting the ball, and they delivered. We wanted to keep him from catching it, and we limited that, for sure.”
Freshman Kareem Reid echoed Craft’s words in his defense of Stanley.
“Coach Craft emphasized not letting the ball get inside the post,” said Reid. “We practiced, we read the post, (and) we fronted him. We did the (right) things to keep him from getting the ball.”
Gardner-Webb outscored Hampton in the paint, 38-26.
The teams came into Monday having just played Thursday night at Hampton, and the familiarity proved large for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, even after a tightly-contested game in Virginia.
“We knew to focus on (Marrow) and Stanley more,” said guard Nate Johnson. “It was a big advantage … Just being able to jump right off the bat and play them again, we knew what to do differently, and just tried to do that.”
Jose Perez led the Runnin’ Bulldogs in scoring. Perez scored 19 on 6-of-7 shooting and 7-of-9 from the line. Nate Johnson tallied 17 for the contest, with Eric Jamison and Jaheam Cornwall compiling 13 each. Reid scored 10 and neared a triple-double, snaring eight boards and blocking eight shots.
Reid’s eight blocks were the highest total recorded by a freshman in Gardner-Webb’s Division I basketball era. The total eclipses his prior career-high of five, set against UT-Martin earlier this season.
Both teams return to action Thursday. Hampton returns home to the Convocation Center in Hampton, Virginia, to host Radford. That game will be televised over ESPNU and will begin at 7:00. Gardner-Webb travels to Charleston Southern. Tip time in the Buc Dome is slated for 7:30.
GARDNER-WEBB 81, HAMPTON 67
HAMPTON (13-16, 8-8 BIG SOUTH): Oliver-Hampton 1-7 0-0 2, Stanley 8-14 4-6 20, Marrow 5-14 6-6 17, Warren 3-13 6-7 12, Heckstall 3-5 0-0 7, Dean 0-2 0-0 0, Sow 0-0 0-0 0, Griffin 1-6 0-0 3, Shelton 2-3 0-0 6. Totals 23-64 16-19 67.
GARDNER-WEBB (13-15, 9-7): Jamison 5-15 3-5 13, Dufeal 1-2 0-0 2, Cornwall 3-5 4-4 13, Perez 6-7 7-9 19, Johnson 6-9 2-2 17, Jenkins 0-1 2-3 2, Turner 1-3 3-4 5, Reid 5-8 0-1 10, Bryant 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-51 21-28 81
Halftime — Gardner-Webb 39-31. 3-Point Goals—Gardner-Webb 6-13 (Jamison 0-1, Cornwall 3-6, Johnson 3-5, Jenkins 0-1), Hampton 5-23 (Oliver-Hampton 0-1, Stanley 0-3, Marrow 1-6, Warren 0-4, Heckstall 1-2, Griffin 1-4, Shelton 2-3). Fouled Out — Heckstall (HU), Shelton (HU). Rebounds —Gardner-Webb 37 (Jamison 9), Hampton 36 (Oliver-Hampton 8). Assists —Gardner-Webb 14 (Turner 7), Hampton 13 (Marrow 8). Total Fouls —Hampton 25, Gardner-Webb 22. Technical — Shelton (HU), Jamison (GWU). A —988.
CURRENT BIG SOUTH STANDINGS