You’ve read the recap. Now, let’s go Inside the Numbers on the Bucs and Runnin’ Bulldogs on an important — if not hastily scheduled — Sunday in Big South play.
- Fun times in Cleveland again: Esoteric references aside, the Runnin’ Bulldogs honored senior point guard Jaheam Cornwall before the game to commemorate his having scored 1,000 career points. Jah scored nine of his team’s first 17 points — all on threes — Sunday before becoming a bit more of a facilitator. Cornwall dished seven dimes in guiding two teammates to career and season highs in points. I asked him after the game about the philosophical change, to which he responded:
I was just playing out there and finding the open guy. When a guy’s open, the first thought that comes into my head is just to give it to him. I tell them all the time (to) just be ready to shoot. If you’re wide open, be ready to shoot that.Gardner-Webb guard Jaheam Cornwall
Jah also offered some really cool insight on the guidance he received from fellow thousand-point-scoring ‘Dogs DJ Laster and David Efianayi to my colleague, Jacob Conley. The comments will appear in a forthcoming feature, so I’ll be kind and not spoil.
- Watching Williams: Freshman D’Maurian Williams notched a career-high 21, reaching double figures for the sixth time in his last seven games. Oddly enough, Williams was held completely scoreless in 17 minutes against Winthrop several games ago. The freshman from Arizona by way of Putnam Science — the same prep school Cornwall attended — said to me after the game that he feels the game is slowing down a bit for him and that everything is starting to come together for him as a collegian. The freshman is now averaging 10.5 points per game, and is going to get a lot of love for the Big South’s weekly and season-long first-year player plaudits. His fellow first-year teammate, Jordan Sears, has hit doubles in four of the last five.
- Helping hands: Gardner-Webb set a season-high in assists in the contest, dishing out 22 helpers on 27 made buckets. Cornwall and Jacob Falko combined to distribute 15 dimes. The Runnin’ Bulldogs’ prior high came in the first game of the season, as they recorded 20 in an 86-84 loss to Western Kentucky.
- Fan of Phlan: Charleston Southern’s Phlandrous Fleming was the preseason Player of the Year selection in the Big South, and totally irrespective of his team’s struggles, has lived up to that billing this year. Fleming splashed home a trey just before the horn sounded Sunday to finish out his point total at 32. Fleming’s totals in the two-game series against Asheville combined was 36. Amazingly enough, the outburst was not Fleming’s season-high — that was a 33-point effort in a two-point loss to Winthrop near the beginning of the month.
- Bad beat: While we’re speaking of Phlan, here’s another tidbit from Sunday’s game. Gardner-Webb was favored by 12.5 in the game, until Fleming’s triple with less than a second to play provided the final margin of 12. Considering the fine religious convictions of both programs, though, one would assume that no dollars were lost on that shot.
- Stop that: Though the game was never truly in doubt during the second half, the Bucs shot 44.4% from the floor in the closing 20. I heard Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft challenging his team to be better on pindowns (down screens) and stagger actions, so I asked him about his team defense in the closing period.
It takes a while to build defensive habits. Guys are used to doing things they’ve done for their whole lives, or wherever they played in high school or junior college. Now, they’re learning a whole new defensive system. The guys that have been here for multiple years like Jaheam and (forward) Ludovic (Dufeal) and (forward) Kareem (Reid), they’re pretty good. They’re rarely out of position. We’ve got nine new guys that are just learning. It just takes time. It takes time building those habits. I think we’re getting a lot better. I thought against Asheville (an 84-57 GWU victory earlier in the week), we were terrific defensively, In the first half (Sunday), I thought we were really active and really good.Gardner-Webb Coach Tim Craft
And finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Gardner-Webb 26, Charleston Southern 24
- Points off turnovers: Charleston Southern 18, Gardner-Webb 16
- Second-chance points: Charleston Southern 7, Gardner-Webb 3
- Fast-break points: Gardner-Webb 15, Charleston Southern 8
GARDNER-WEBB 74, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 62
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (1-12, 0-9 BIG SOUTH): Porter 0-4 0-0 0, Edwards 3-8 0-0 7, Knox 2-5 0-0 6, Florence 1-7 0-0 2, Fleming 10-18 9-10 32, Moore 2-5 0-0 6, Bowser 2-4 3-3 7, Price 1-4 0-1 2. Totals 21-55 12-14 62.
GARDNER-WEBB (5-9, 4-5): Reid 5-8 3-4 13, Dufeal 1-3 1-2 3, Cornwall 3-8 0-0 9, Sears 6-10 0-0 16, Falko 3-9 0-0 6, Williams 7-13 2-4 21, Mann 2-4 1-2 6, Lynott 0-1 0-0 0, Selden 0-5 0-0 0, Itodo 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 27-61 7-14 74.
Halftime — Gardner-Webb 44-26. 3-Point Goals—Gardner-Webb 13-32 (Dufeal 0-2, Cornwall 3-6, Sears 4-8, Falko 0-5, Williams 5-8, Mann 1-1, Selden 0-2), Charleston Southern 8-30 (Porter 0-1, Edwards 1-5, Knox 2-5, Florence 0-3, Fleming 3-9, Moore 2-5, Price 0-2). Fouled Out — Bowser (CSU). Rebounds — Gardner-Webb 42 (Reid 11), Charleston Southern 33 (Fleming 7). Assists —Gardner-Webb 22 (Falko 8), Charleston Southern 10 (Knox/Florence/Fleming 3). Total Fouls — Charleston Southern 16, Gardner-Webb 15. Technical — NA. A —NA.