Tyrell Nelson had 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, Jerome Hill added 18 and 12, and Tyler Strange had 12 and eight assists for Gardner-Webb (1-1).
Gardner-Webb held a 32-31 halftime lead as the Bulldogs made only 12 of 35 field goal attempts. They found the range in the second half, hitting 15 of 28 attempts.
Gardner-Webb went on a 20-3 run to start the second half to lead 52-34 with 12:28 remaining in the game. Charleston came back and closed to 63-55 with 3:54 left after Joe Chealey hit a 3-pointer and a free throw.
Chealey had 17 points for the Cougars (1-1). Anthony Stitt contributed 12 points and Adjehi Baru had 10, while pulling down 12 rebounds.