Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Naji Hibbert scored 15 points as Gardner- Webb posted a 61-54 decision over IUPUI on Thursday in the opening contest in the Las Vegas Invitational.
Donta Harper contributed 14 points with Mike Byron adding nine points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (3-4), who will take on Morehead State Friday.
A game-best 22 points from Ian Chiles wasn't enough for the Jaguars (1-6), who nearly rallied from an 18-point deficit but face Chattanooga in the losers' bracket.
Mitch Patton poured in 12 points and eight boards in the setback.
Harper connected on two shots from the line early in the second half and the Bulldogs led 46-28, but the Jaguars chipped away with a 15-2 run until their deficit was 48-43. Justus Stanback was the star of the burst, pouring in seven points, including a triple which ended the surge with 8:48 remaining.
Hibbert's triple closed out seven straight points thereafter and Gardner-Webb led by 12. Though Patton's tip-in once again brought IUPUI to within five with 2:20 showing, the Bulldogs closed out the victory with key free throws.
A 12-0 burst from GWU through the middle portion of the first half gave it a 21-11 cushion. Hibbert's triple provided a 32-19 advantage, and though IUPUI closed within eight, the margin once again stood at 13, 37-24, at the break thanks to Byron's layup.