Gardner-Webb and Liberty came into Tuesday's match up in the Vines Center as two teams heading in very different directions. Since this wasn't the world's most exciting game I'll try to make this fun for your reading pleasure and give you a view from both sides of the fence on this one.
This was Gardner-Webb's generally feeling coming into tonight as the Bulldogs had won four out of their last five games and six of their last eight, including four straight road wins:
Meanwhile Liberty came into tonight's game riding a four game skid and losing six out of their last seven. I think this would exemplify the Flames general demeanor a little more:
The atmosphere at the Vines Center was electric right from the start:
Joel Vander Pol urging the 35 people in attendance to get on their feet as LU comes out for warmups. I applaud his sense of humor.— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 11, 2014
10 minutes before tip. Oof. pic.twitter.com/8J69Jt4WYL— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 11, 2014
At halftime Gardner-Webb led 38-19. Liberty turned the ball over a whopping 12 times in the first half and posted zero assists. I think Liberty beat reporter Chris Lang's halftime analysis hit it dead on:
(.....................)— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 12, 2014
Perhaps the most exciting thing to keep tabs on in the first half were the fans reactions to this game being picked up by some local markets. Clearly Zeke was excited in the deep South:
Gardner-Webb/Liberty game televised in Birmingham tonight. Unreal! Go Dawgs! http://t.co/q2v83NVpoJ— Zeke Stephenson (@zekestephenson) February 12, 2014
Meanwhile John was not as excited in the mid-Atlantic #WichitaWatch:
gotta love getting the pivotal gardner-webb/liberty game on MASN, but having no access to SIU/wichita state #nielsen— jihadist john™ (@jihadistjohn) February 12, 2014
Liberty did not come out with the swagger to mount a monumental comeback in the Vines:
Liberty's players just look frustrated. With the refs. With each other. With everything.— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 12, 2014
Also...BAD NEWS...the Vines Center was one seat more empty after the half:
Collegefession: I only came to the basketball game for the halftime show -Liberty University— Kayla Coburn (@baaayla) February 12, 2014
Kayla was not alone:
BEST THING ABOUT LIBERTY MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMES? THE HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT— Travis Briggs (@FakeTBriggs) February 12, 2014
Meanwhile on #WichitaWatch:
Congrats to Aunt Bette!
WAIT...WAIT! Something exciting is going on at Liberty!
MACKERAL JORDAN pic.twitter.com/7M9gBR1FYq— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 12, 2014
Gardner-Webb calls it a night with a 68-52 win:
Gardner-Webb is now 7-4 in Big South play including a 5-0 road mark. Liberty is now 3-8 in the conference losing five straight. Jerome Hill lead the way for the Bulldogs tonight posting 13 points and 9 rebounds. Donta Harper was not far behind with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Tomasz Gielo was the high scorer for the Flames with 11 points and 7 boards.
The Flames and the Bulldogs now feature two coaches and two programs going in very different directions. First year head coach Tim Craft has his Bulldogs soaring and heading for a first round bye in the Big South Tournament. Meanwhile veteran head man Dale Layer now has his Flames at a 9-18 over the past two seasons in the regular season.
Gardner-Webb fans once again can dream about the postseason, while Liberty may need a run similar to last year just to save Layer's job. Flames' fans are frustrated which is apparent as soon as you go on their fan message board and even nearly 70% of the participants are calling for Liberty to move on from the Layer era.
I guess there is some positive news for Liberty faithful:
Gardner-Webb 30, Liberty 15 at the U4 media. Baseball season starts Friday, if you're looking for some positive news.— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangLNA) February 12, 2014
And they have a nice bus: