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Big South Round Up: Longwood, Gardner-Webb, & Asheville Move On

The Big South kicked off their conference tournament on Wednesday and three teams moved on to the quarterfinal round after three close games in Myrtle Beach.

Matthew Alexander

The opening round of Myrtle Beach Madness is in the books and we now get a clear look at Friday's quarterfinal match ups.

#8 Presbyterian- 61, #9 Longwood- 65

In the only "upset" of the day the Longwood Lancers took the rubber match in the opening game of the Big South Tournament by taking down Presbyterian 65-61. Auburn transfer Shaquille Johnson was phenomenal for the Lancers posting his first career double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson also nailed two key free throws down the stretch that help Jayson Gee's squad put away the game.

This was a game of runs for pretty much the whole affair and Presbyterian lead by as much as 13 points in the first half and 9 points in the second half. Big South Freshman of the Year DeSean Murray had a double-double of his own with 18 points and 13 boards. Markus Terry and Jordan Downing also posted in double-figures scoring 21 points and 15 points respectively.

Longwood will now move on to play the number one seed Charleston Southern at noon on Friday. The Lancers nearly knocked off the Bucs on Valentines Day when Barclay Radebaugh's squad escaped Farmville with a 65-64 win. The game will feature a tremendous guard match with Big South Player of the Year Saah Nimley and his running mate Arlon Harper against Leron Fisher and Quincy Taylor for Longwood, a tandem that combined for 29 points during Wednesday's win. Gee was asked postgame if there was a possibility of injured big man Lotanna Nwogbo suiting up on Friday, he smiled and replied, "no comment".

#7 Gardner-Webb- 72, #10 Campbell- 64

Gardner-Webb will move on after a dominant performance from their frontcourt in a 72-64 rubber match win over Campbell. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Camels 40-25 and Big South first teamer Jerome Hill had a double-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists. Hill's partner in crime Tyrell Nelson also had a nice night posting 15 points and 9 rebounds.

Campbell tried to fight back from a 14 point halftime deficit behind impressive performances from freshmen Curtis Phillips (20 points) and Troy Harper (13 points) but in the end it was just too much to overcome. Kevin McGeehan finishes his second year in the Big South with a combined 22-42 record and a 10-24 mark in the conference.

Gardner-Webb moves on to face John Brown and the High Point Panthers, a team the Bulldogs lost to twice this year 33 points. The Bulldogs kept Brown in check the last time out but will need to keep an eye on the perimeter for the likes of Lorenzo Cugini who burned GWU pretty bad just a few weeks ago.

#6 UNC Asheville- 80, #11 Liberty- 70

In an instant rematch from Saturday's contest in the Vines Center Liberty fell to Asheville by 10 points in a scrappy effort that is likely the last in the tenure of Dale Layer as the Flames head coach. Andrew Rowsey was on fire going 7-for-10 from beyond the arc to post 34 points on the night. David Robertson and Sam Hughes also finished in double-figures and combined for 26 points.

Andrew Smith and David Andoh continued their late season push combining for 37 points and 19 rebounds in the losing effort. The Flames finish the year 8-23 and 2-16 in the Big South, it was the fourth straight losing season under Layer despite going on a miracle run in the conference tournament two weekends ago. Names like Wofford's Mike Young, North Carolina Central's Levelle Moton, and others are already swirling in Lynchburg as the Flames continue their push to join a FBS level conference.

Asheville will now turn their focus to host and number three seed Coastal Carolina who split with the Bulldogs during the regular season. UNCA has an advantage inside and needs to get Giacomo Zilli and Jaleel Roberts going as the two combined for just 11 points and 13 rebounds against Liberty.

Quarterfinals Schedule (Friday March 6)

* All games on ESPN3/Watch ESPN

#1 Charleston Southern vs #9 Longwood, 12 PM

#4 Radford vs #5 Winthrop, 2 PM

#2 High Point vs #7 Gardner-Webb

#3 Coastal Carolina vs #6 UNC Asheville