BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb hits the road for the fifth time in its first six games on Friday, traveling south to face Georgia at 7:00 pm in Athens, Ga.
The game will air live on SEC Network+ (WatchESPN.com), with Jeff Dantzler and Jarvis Hayes calling the action.
The Runnin' Bulldogs have dropped its three previous meetings with the Bulldogs, including a 58-49 loss on December 19, 2013 – current head coach Tim Craft's first season in charge. Craft took his Gardner-Webb squad to 18 wins in 2013-2014 and was a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award by season's end.
He has continued to lead Gardner-Webb's program well, posting three consecutive winning seasons – including a 20-win campaign in 2014-2015 that included wins over Purdue and Clemson. Including the season prior to Craft's arrival, the Runnin' Bulldogs are riding a string of four-consecutive winning seasons – a stretch of prosperity not seen in Boiling Springs since the late 1970s.
The Runnin' Bulldogs have won two in a row and have put the offense in high gear in each of its last four contests. Since struggling from the floor at SMU in the season opener, Gardner-Webb has gone for 86.2 points per game in losses to Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan – and wins over Howard and Toccoa Falls.
During that four-game stretch, GWU has made 51.6 percent of its shots, 45.9 percent of its three-point baskets and has posted averages of 43.5 points in the paint and 18.5 points on the break.
Buoyed by sensational sixth man David Efianayi (15.0 ppg), Gardner-Webb has gotten 38.5 points per game off the bench over the last four games. That total has reached 50 in each of the past two games, including a 50-5 edge in the 94-78 win over preseason MEAC favorite Howard on November 19.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will face a significant challenge at Georgia on Friday night. The host Bulldogs feature a pair of preseason All-SEC selections in 6-foot-8 forward Yante Maten (22.6 ppg) and 5-foot-10 dynamo J.J. Frazier (15.4 ppg). Both have lived up to their preseason billing so far, getting Georgia off to a 3-2 start.
Facing a top-5 team in Kansas on Tuesday night, Maten stared down one of the nation's best frontcourts and had his way – going for 30 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-54 loss to the Jayhawks. Frazier had a difficult night shooting (1-for-10) in that game, but had averaged 21.3 points per game in the three previous contests.
That included a 28-point outburst against Furman on November 17 in Athens, where the Bulldogs are 2-0 this season.
Following Friday's game, Gardner-Webb will take three days off before hosting Division II Coker on Tuesday, November 29, in Boiling Springs. That game will tip at 7:00 pm (Big South Network).