Bulldogs put 10-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night against Newberry
1/31/2017 | Men's Basketball
Wingate, N.C.----The Wingate University Bulldogs look to continue their hottest stretch in over 15 years on Wednesday night, hosting Newberry College at 8 p.m. on ESPN3. Winners of 10 straight, the Bulldogs are 13-7 overall and 10-4 in the SAC, alone in third place in the league standings after starting conference play 1-4. Newberry enters the contest 12-8 overall and 7-7 in league play.
"First and foremost, we will need to take care of the ball," head coach Brian Good says. "We know they will pressure us in both the full and half court, so limiting live ball turnovers will be key. On the defensive end we will need to keep them out of the paint. They really hurt us in the first game by getting to the rim."
The Bulldogs and Wolves met in a high-scoring affair in late November, with Newberry prevailing 101-98 on a Mason Spease three with 10 seconds left. Sophomore Mike Baez (Orlando, Fla.) led the Bulldogs with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting, adding 13 rebounds while senior Keith Griffin (Concord, N.C.) went 12-for-14 from the field, piling up 24 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Zeriq Lolar (Orlando, Fla.) added 20 points and 14 boards for the Bulldogs, who have had three 20-point scorers twice this season. Spease led the Wolves with 19 points, while Rob Valentine added 16 points. The Bulldogs outscored the Wolves 52-14 in the paint and held a 58-34 rebounding advantage and 23-4 second-chance points edge, but Newberry converted 23 Wingate turnovers into 30 points, holding a 19-2 advantage in fast-break points.
The Bulldogs have had three winning streaks of eight games over the last four seasons. Last Wednesday's win at Lenoir-Rhyne gave Wingate its first nine-game winning streak since the 2007-08 season. Saturday's victory gave the 'Dogs their first 10-game winning streak since the 2001-02 season, when Wingate Hall of Famer and former NBA player Junior Harrington led the Bulldogs during his senior season. The only winning streak this century of over 10 games came in the 2000-01 season, when the Bulldogs started the season on a 13-game winning streak.
Wingate's 10th straight victory came Saturday afternoon, an 84-67 victory over Tusculum, avenging an early-season road loss. Senior forward Josh Dominguez (Matthews, N.C.) scored a career-high 29 points on six-of-eight shooting from three-point range while adding six rebounds. Lolar added 18 points on three-of-five shooting from beyond the arc, while Baez contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Wingate's 10-game winning streak started before Christmas, a 22-point victory over Brevard. The 'Dogs rolled to an 84-61 win at Mount Olive on New Year's Eve, followed by a 99-84 victory at Coker. Wingate prevailed 79-77 at Carson-Newman, while downing Catawba 97-82 in Cuddy Arena. That was followed by a 76-70 victory over Anderson. The Bulldogs picked up a huge 71-64 victory at third-ranked Queens, handing the Royals their first loss of the season. That was followed by a 94-73 victory over Mars Hill and last Wednesday's 79-72 win at Lenoir-Rhyne.
During the 10-game winning streak, Wingate is averaging 84.1 points per game, allowing just 70.6 points per contest. The 'Dogs are shooting 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range, while holding opponents to 39 percent shooting from the field. The Bulldogs are out-rebounding opponents by nine boards per game while shooting 78 percent from the free throw line.
Baez is scoring 17.7 points per game during the winning streak, shooting 53 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range. Dominguez is scoring 13.4 points per game on 43 percent shooting from beyond the arc, adding 4.5 boards per game. Griffin, Anthanee Doyle (Holly Springs, N.C.) and Isiah Cureton (Waxhaw, N.C.) contribute between 11.0 and 11.3 points per game, with Griffin shooting 60 percent from the field while adding 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per contest. Doyle has connected on 22 triples in the winning streak on 39 percent shooting while adding a team-high 13 steals, while Cureton is pulling down a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game. Doyle, Cureton and Lolar each have 26 assists over the last 10 games, while Lolar is adding 10.0 points per contest.
The Wingate offense is averaging 81.8 points per game on the year, the highest since the 2007-08 season. Wingate has scored over 90 points five times this year, after reaching the 90-point mark just three times last season. The 'Dogs lead the league in free throw percentage (74.5 percent). Six different Bulldogs are scoring over 10.5 points per game, with Wingate shooting 45 percent from the field. The 'Dogs are the only team in the SAC and the region with six players averaging over 10.5 points per game this season. Wingate has had 12 occasions this season with at least four players scoring in double figures and six times that least five players have scored 10 points or more.
The Bulldogs are third in the league in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense, allowing 76.6 points per game, the highest in the Brian Good era. The 'Dogs have not allowed over 73 points per game since the 2009-2010 season. Wingate leads the SAC and ranks 15th nationally with 5.0 blocks per game. Of the seven losses for the Bulldogs this season, five of the setbacks have come by a combined 15 points.
Baez leads the Bulldogs and ranks ninth in the SAC with 16.0 points per game, knocking down 32 triples while adding 6.5 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures each of the last 17 games, scoring 20 or more points eight times. Dominguez averages 13.0 points per contest, with Lolar and Cureton at 12.3 and 11.7 points per game, respectively. Dominguez shoots 47 percent from the field 42 percent from beyond the arc. Lolar has knocked down 33 triples on the season, while leading the team with 49 assists. Cureton leads the 'Dogs with 8.6 rebounds per game.
Griffin contributes 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, leading the SAC with 2.6 blocks per contest while shooting 59.4 percent from the field. Doyle is averaging 10.9 points per game, knocking down a team-best 39 triples to go along with a team-high 22 steals. Wingate has three of the top 10 free throw shooters in the league. Lolar (third), Baez (seventh) and Dominguez (10th) all shoot above 77.5 percent. The Bulldogs have four different players that have knocked down over 30 triples on the season.
Newberry is riding a four-game losing streak, coming off a 61-51 loss against Anderson Saturday. The balanced attack has seven players scoring over 9.0 points per game, led by Gerald Evans at 14.8 points per contest. James Stepp contributes 14.2 points per game, while Marshall Lange scores 12.2 points per contest. Five different Wolves have knocked down at least 30 threes on the year, led by Stepp, who has connected on 63 triples while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc. Spease also shoots 39 percent from three-point range, knocking down 46 threes. Newberry ranks second in the SAC and fifth in the nation, scoring 94.9 points per game, while leading the nation with 14.1 steals per contest and 14.8 made threes per game.
Wingate hits the road Saturday, traveling to Lincoln Memorial to face the 24th-ranked Railsplitters at 2 p.m. on the American Sports Network as part of the NCAA Division II Showcase. The Bulldogs return home next Wednesday, hosting eighth-ranked Queens at 8 p.m.
Wingate University, consistently ranked as a top 10 "best value" in the South by U.S. News & World Report, serves more than 3,200 students on three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors, 35 minors, 12 career concentrations, nine pre-professional programs, master's degrees in accounting, business, education, physician assistant studies and sport management and doctorates in education, pharmacy and physical therapy.
With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life. To view current news, video and story ideas, visit www.youtube.com/wingateuniversity.
In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 22 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past 10 years. For more information, go to www.wingate.edu.
Wingate is first among NCAA Division II Academic All-America-producing colleges in the 2000's with 88 selections. Among North Carolina's colleges and universities, Wingate is number one in this millennium with 88 Academic All-America honorees. Wingate is tops among all SAC schools with 97 lifetime Academic All-America picks. For more information on WU athletics, go to www.wingatebulldogs.com.