Rivalry Reignited as Men’s Basketball Travels to Gardner-Webb

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team met Gardner-Webb 12 times on the hardwood between 2003 and 2008. Since the Runnin’ Bulldogs left the league following the 2007-08 season, the series has been put on ice. That changes on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as the Dolphins (1-1) make their second road trip of the season, heading up to Boiling Springs, N.C. to do battle with one of the preseason favorites in the Big South. Along with Scott Manze’s call of the game on 92.5 FM, a live stream of the contest will be available free of charge on the Big South Network.

It was a home opener to remember for JU on Tuesday night. Behind five players in double-figures, the Dolphins broke 100 points for the first time since the 2006-07 season, streaking past Florida College, 101-72. Jeremy Bogus exploded for a career-high 17 points – all of them coming in the second half as he nailed four 3-pointers. Tyler Alderman also posted a career-best 15 points as the Jacksonville reserves combined for 51 points in the game.

Leading the starters was RJ Slawson, who had the first Dolphin double-double of the young season with 13 points and 11 boards. Behind his work down low, JU outrebounded the Falcons, 51-38, and made 40 trips to the charity stripe, which they converted into 30 points.

Gardner-Webb (0-2) will be playing its first home game of the season on Saturday after opening with double-digit road losses to Xavier and Furman. Forward Donta Harper was a Preseason Second Team All-Big South selection and comes in averaging 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Jerome Hill is the leading rebounder thus far for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, entering at a 7.5 boards per game clip along with 12.0 points per game. Point guard Tyler Strange facilitates the offense. He is the second-leading scorer for G-W and has 12 assists in two outings.

As members of the Atlantic Sun from 2002-03 through 2007-08, Gardner-Webb met up with Jacksonville on 12 occasions. The Dolphins hold a 7-5 lead in the series and have won the last four times the teams have met. The burgeoning rivalry was halted when the Runnin’ Bulldogs left for the Big South, but the Dolphins gave them a proper send-off in the 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament semifinals, racing out to a 19-point halftime lead and advancing to the A-Sun championship game with an 89-80 victory.

Jacksonville will continue its road swing through North Carolina on Monday night when they meet Wake Forest for a 7 p.m. tip. That game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.