The Flames return to the Vines Center looking to put a stop to their 4-game losing streak. Will the Flames be able to defeat Gardner-Webb? Find out in our Gardner-Webb Primer.
1. Team introduction. Gardner-Webb enters the contest with an overall record of 13-12 and a 6-4 mark in the Big South. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are led by first-year head coach Tim Craft. GWU is 6-2 in their past 8 games including an 80-76 victory over High Point on Saturday.
2. Offense. Gardner-Webb is 5th in the Big South in scoring offense, averaging 73 points per game while shooting 45.2% from the field. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have a balanced scoring attack led by Jerome Hill’s 14.1 points per game.
3. Defense. GWU prides themselves in their defense. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are 2nd in the conference in scoring defense and 5th in field goal percentage defense.
4. Player turnover. The Bulldogs had to replace 3 of their top 4 scorers from a season ago in Tashan Newsome, Kevin Hartley, and Max Landis. Newsome led the team with 14.1 points per game and also added 5.1 rebounds. Hartley led the Runnin’ Bulldogs in rebounding with 6.4 per game and chipped in 9.6 points. Landis was 4th on the team in scoring at 7.9 points per game.
5. Possible starters. A look at the likely starting line-up for the Runnin’ Bulldogs…
Guard: Tyler Strange (#2) – 5’10″ 185 pound Junior – has started all 25 games at the point for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. He is 3rd in the conference with 5.56 assists per game. Strange adds 9.4 points per game while shooting over 35% from 3-point range on his 119 3-point attempts this season.
Guard: Naji Hibbert (#11) – 6’5″ 190 pound R-Senior – transferred to GWU from Texas A&M. He is averaging 12.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He leads the team in 3-point shooting with 49 made 3-pointers.
Forward: Donta Harper (#0) – 6’7″ 205 pound Junior – is 3rd on the team in scoring at 10.2 points per game.
Forward: Jerome Hill (#35) – 6’5″ 210 pound Sophomore – leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with 14.1 points and 7.8 boards per game.
Center: Mike Byron (#54) – 6’10″ 245 pound Senior – is averaging 3.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
6. Key reserves. Some other key contributors…
Forward: Tyrell Nelson (#20) – 6’7″ 230 pound Freshman – is averaging 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Forward: Onzie Branch (#45) – 6’6″ 215 pound Senior– is averaging 4.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
7. Prediction. To be honest, it is very difficult to make predictions at this point in the season on the Flames. They have the capability to win every game remaining on their schedule, but the way they are playing could also lose any game. Gardner-Webb 73 Liberty 70