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Gardner-Webb vs. Virginia final score: Gardner-Webb falls to Virginia after leading at halftime

The Runnin’ Bulldogs gave them a scare for a half.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Virginia vs Gardner-Webb Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun there for a minute.

Gardner-Webb took a halftime lead into the locker room against 1 seed Virginia before ultimately losing, 71-56.

It started with a 6-4 Gardner-Webb lead. Everybody immediately got on Twitter to make their jokes, assuming that the lead would not last for more than a few minutes. And then the lead grew. And then it grew some more. Before we knew it, Gardner-Webb had taken a lead late into the first half.

The consensus thought was that the Runnin’ Bulldogs needed to be up double digits to maintain their chances of an upset. They took a 36-30 lead into halftime, and Twitter was abuzz with the dream of another upset at the hands of Virginia. The program had to be prepared for the chance of it happening.

Those dreams were quickly shot down. Virginia came out like a team that was worthy of a 1 seed and put the upset aspirations to bed before the first media timeout. Virginia tightened up on defense, and the shots that Gardner-Webb was hitting in the first half all of a sudden went dry. Virginia extended the lead to double digits and the rest of the game was essentially a formality at that point.

At one point, Deandre Hunter was outscoring Gardner-Webb in the second half, 17-16. It was Virginia’s defense, however, that propelled the Cavaliers to their win. Gardner-Webb managed to score just 20 points in the second half.

Jose Perez led Gardner-Webb in scoring with 19 points, while David Efianayi and DJ Laster joined him in double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Gardner-Webb had their moment in the spotlight, and they can hopefully build on their first NCAA Tournament appearance moving forward.