Kevin Vannatta's 3-pointer gave Asheville the lead for good, 62-60, with two minutes to go and his two free throws made it 71-66 with 23 seconds left. Dylan Smith and Sam Hughes added two free throws apiece after that.
Tyrell Nelson had 18 points and 11 rebounds, his eighth double-double this season for Gardner-Webb (10-9, 5-2), which had a five-game win streak snapped. Laquincy Rideau scored a career-high 18 points and Dylan Poston added 11.
Gardner-Webb led 32-23 at halftime despite 35 percent shooting because Asheville shot only 20 percent, including 1 of 11 from 3-point range.