Senior guard Liam O'Reilly scored 17 points, and junior David Efianayi added 12 more and Gardner-Webb hung on Friday night for a 59-54 win over Radford to move into a tie for first place in the Big South Conference race.

Gardner-Webb (9-9, 4-1) limited Radford to just 16 points in the opening half. The Runnin’ Bulldogs did not trail in the game, and built a double figures lead with 6:58 left in the first half – going up 18-6 on a three-pointer by Efianayi. That lead bulged to 15 points moments later, and saw Gardner-Webb hold a 28-16 lead at the break.

Gardner-Webb though had to scramble late in the second half as the Highlanders rallied with a 20-8 run to trim the deficit to 56-54 with under a minute to play.

Travis Fields Jr. and Caleb Tanner each had 3-pointers for Radford during the run, which was capped with a dunk from Ed Polite Jr.

Gardner-Webb had the ball and ran the clock down to 36.2 seconds before a charge was whistled on O’Reilly to give Radford a chance to tie or take the lead.

Radford got a nice look from long range from Travis Fields, Jr., but the shot was wide left and Patrick Zeck corralled the rebound. The Atlanta, Ga., sophomore calmly sank two free throws with 14.9 seconds left to effectively seal the game.

Zeck stole a pass on the other and, and Christian Turner knocked down a free throw with 5.1 seconds left for the final margin.

Gardner-Webb shot 38.2 percent for the game (6-of-18 from long distance) and made 11-of-15 from the charity stripe (73.3 percent). Radford shot 35.2 percent for the game (19-of-54), but missed nine free throws and shot just 6-of-22 from three-point range (27.3 percent).

Junior forward DJ Laster finished with 11 points and 6-foot-11 senior center L'Hassane Niangane hauled down 12 rebounds for Gardner-Webb, which controlled the glass 42-33 on the evening.

Polite had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Radford (11-7, 4-1), which entered the game in sole possession of first in the Big South.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs will have a quick turnaround playing another key league game against Winthrop in Rock Hill, South Carolina.