Gardner-Webb walks past College of Charleston, 91-87, Wednesday afternoon

BOILING SPRINGS — Gardner-Webb used a signature second-half surge on Wednesday afternoon to race to a 91-87 victory over College of Charleston.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs (4-1) won their fourth game in a row behind 23 points and 13 rebounds from Jhessyka Williams and 21 points from Alaska Smith. Lauren Bevis added 16 and Layken Cox scored 14 to lead the win.

After falling behind 16-4 early on, Gardner-Webb regained his composure and started chipping away. At halftime the deficit was reduced to 44-38 and a thick third quarter turned the tide in favor of the home team.

A three from Bevis and a three-point conversion from Smith quickly narrowed the margin to three points with 8:42 left in the third and back-to-back Cox buckets in the paint – and a free throw from Bevis – cut the lead to 51 -50 at 7:21.

Charleston (1-3) was able to extend the lead to five points, but Smith connected with a layup to tie the game with 4:44 left in the third quarter. A pair of Smith free throws with 58.2 seconds remaining gave Gardner-Webb a 68–66 lead at the end of the third inning.

Charleston pulled back to the front on a Jazmyn Stone three with 9:39 to play in the game, but Gardner-Webb got a layup from Christina Deng and another from Tiir Nyok with 7:53 left to get back in front for good .

Holding the defense tight, Gardner-Webb led by as many as eight points before a late Cougars flurry brought the margin as close as two with less than 10 seconds to play. Bevis salted the game away at the free throw line.

Gardner-Webb fired 57 percent in the second half to fuel the win and forced Charleston’s 20 turnovers. The Runnin’ Bulldogs finished 30th of 62 overall from the floor (48.4 percent) and made 26 free throws in a tight game.

The Cougars shot 50.8 percent from the floor (32-of-63), but missed 12 free throws and conceded 46 points in the paint. Gardner-Webb also converted those 20 CofC turnovers into 19 points – and a score of +10.

Stone was the top scorer from the bench, scoring 27 points in 32 minutes. Alexis Andrews added 18, Jaila Roberts scored 13 and Jada Logan had 12 for the Cougars.

Gardner-Webb returns to action on Sunday afternoon, traveling to Alabama in Tuscaloosa at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNCLT.com with Phil Constantino and will also be streamed on SEC Network+.

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