DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central and Gardner-Webb battled all the way to the wire, but the Eagles were able to force the Runnin’ Bulldogs into a turnover in the final seconds to come away with a narrow 72-71 win at home inside of McDougald-McLendon Arena.
Both NCCU (5-7) and G-WU (4-7) got off to slow starts, but once the teams got going, they set the stage for a fantastic game. The contest was knotted twice and saw the lead change hands five times; including three lead changes in the second period. The Eagles built up a nine-point lead in the first half, but then the Runnin’ Bulldogs rattled off a 12-point streak to take the lead, and hold on to it on the way to a 30-28 advantage at the midway point.
G-WU built that cushion up to six points before NCCU pulled together an 11-point sprint of its own, and eventually led by 10 at 55-45, with a little under 10 minutes remaining. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor in the second half, but G-WU made its difference from the perimeter with six three-pointers. D’Maurian Williams knocked down three of those, including a few difficult shots to help the Runnin’ Bulldogs continually shave down the 10-point Eagle lead down to just a single point with seconds remaining.
The Eagles were sent to the free-throw line with eight seconds remaining, but G-WU came away with the rebound after the missed attempts. The Runnin’ Bulldogs had one final chance to snag the win, but a critical turnover allowed the Eagles to escape with the dramatic 72-71 win.
Kris Monroe built on his MEAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week performance against Carver with a new season-high of 17 points, as one of four Eagles to reach double-digits. Justin Wright put in 10 points for the fourth time this season, joined by Dontavius King with 10 points and nine rebounds, and Randy Miller Jr. with 10 points.
Williams finished with 14 points and five boards for G-WU, right behind Jordan Sears with a team-best 15 points and game-high six assists.
Courtesy: North Carolina Central Athletics