Gardner-Webb Survives AU Upset Bid

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. -- Aaron Linn scored a career-high 31 points, and Gardner-Webb seemed to need every one as it overcame a sluggish defensive effort to hold off Anderson University 86-83 Wednesday night. Gardner-Webb (5-7) seemed to have a tough time shaking off the rust after an 11-day break for the Christmas holidays, particularly on the defensive end. The Runnin’ Bulldogs held just a 38-35 lead at the break, and – after sprinting to a 46-37 lead with 17:13 left – found themselves down by four, 53-49, after Anderson heated up from deep to spark a 16-3 run that Stephen Cobb capped with a pair of free throws with 11:56 left. Gardner-Webb tied the score moments later, but three pointers by Nick Trull and Brandon Young gave the Trojans (3-6) a 59-55 edge with 9:33 left. The Runnin’ Bulldogs regained their poise, however, and a layup by Auryn MacMillan with 7:48 to go gave GWU a 62-61 lead it would not relinquish. MacMillan had two buckets in a 17-5 spurt that put Gardner-Webb in front 73-64 with 4:39 left. Gardner-Webb still held a comfortable 77-69 lead with 1:52 on the clock after a Grayson Flittner layup – but a quartet of shots by Young in the final 49 seconds, including three shots from deep – gave Anderson a shot at the upset. Young’s fade-away from 23 feet with 9.6 seconds left made the score 84-83, but Flittner calmly stepped to the charity stripe for a pair of free throws to push the margin back to three. Young tried to tie the game with another 3-point attempt, but was stripped cleanly with 4.1 seconds left by Jonathan Moore, and Joshua Henley grabbed the ball, raced the other way and ran out the clock. Linn made 10-of-17 shots from the floor to pace an efficient shooting night for Gardner-Webb, which hit at a 54.7 percent clip as a team (29-of-53), and dished off 21 assists. That shooting and passing helped overcome a sloppy effort in the turnover department, as GWU coughed up 18 miscues. Flittner finished with 17 points and six assists for Gardner-Webb, which also got nine points, nine rebounds and seven blocks from MacMillan, nine points and five boards from Henley and eight points and five assists from Moore. Cobb dropped in 27 points to pace Anderson, which shot 50.0 percent for the game and made the most of several open looks from the perimeter. The Trojans made 10-of-18 treys in the final half, and hit 13 for the game. Young finished with 22 points for Anderson, including 11 in the final minute of play. Kevis Cornwell added 13 points. Box: Gardner-Webb 86, Anderson 83 Anderson University Men's Basketball Statistics
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