Preview: Men’s basketball vs. Gardner-Webb

Media Credit: Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Redshirt junior Matt Hart converts a dunk in against Army on Sunday. Hart had 17 points in 12 minutes in the win.

What: Men’s basketball (4-0) vs. Gardner-Webb (1-3)

Where: The Smith Center, Washington D.C.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m.

After taking down Army 92-81 Sunday night, GW will wrap up its Barclays Center Classic homestand against NCAA Division I’s other GWU– Gardner-Webb.

The matchup with the Runnin’ Bulldogs will be the Colonials final tune-up before heading to Brooklyn this weekend to face Tennessee (SEC) and either Nebraska (Big 10) or Cincinnati (AAC).

Gardner-Webb, of the Big South conference, did score 125 points against Division II Toccoa Falls and even led Tennessee 57-55 at one point Sunday, but the Colonials should have an easy time notching its fifth win of the season Tuesday morning.

Case for the Colonials:

GW will have all the momentum in this one, fresh off a season-opening four straight wins and playing at the Smith Center, where a homecourt advantage helped the Colonials upset No.6 Virginia earlier this month.

Senior guard Patricio Garino, who had 18 points against Army, paces four Colonials scoring in double digits, while junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh guides GW on the glass with an average of 8.25 rebounds per game.

Although Gardner-Webb averages 77.5 points per game and a better clip from three-point range compared to the Colonials, a strong GW defense should have no problem shutting them down. The Colonials forced 15 turnovers against Army and holding opponents to an average of 73 points per game.

Case for the Runnin’ Bulldogs:

Gardner-Webb enters Tuesday morning’s matchup having lost three of its last four, but has gained experience against high-level programs like Iowa, No. 17 Vanderbilt and Tennessee this season.

Junior center Tyrell Nelson is the Runnin’ Bulldogs biggest threat down low, averaging a team-best 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Senior guard Harold McBride, who led Gardner-Webb in scoring with 17 points in its 89-64 loss to the Volunteers, is one of four veteran guards on the roster who can produce offensively.

Entering their game against Tennessee, the Runnin’ Bulls did boast some impressive numbers, like an average of nine steals per game to GW’s 6, and 15 assists per game to GW’s 11, and if they can hit their shots and take advantage when GW’s bench is on the floor, which will be frequently, they may be able to keep it close.

The Bottom Line: No win is a guarantee, but this one has W written all over it for the Colonials. This game should serve as a good opportunity for head coach Mike Lonergan to iron out any kinks and get his bench players involved before heading to Brooklyn. No matter what, at least one GWU will walk away with a victory.

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