CARROLLTON, Ga. - The curtain opens Friday on year two of the Dave Moore era at the University of West Georgia commences on Friday evening, as the Wolves begin play in a similar fashion to last season, taking on Embry-Riddle and Palm Beach Atlantic in the GSC/SSC Challenge, this time in Carrollton.
West Georgia had a solid first year under Moore in the 2018-19 season, finishing with a 17-12 record overall on the year and a 12-8 record in Gulf South Conference play. The Wolves returned to the Gulf South Conference tournament as the sixth seed.
Moore and his staff rebuilt the team after just five players return from the 2018-19 squad. That includes two players, Karlos Odum and Tommaso Gini, who were on the team last season but used a medical redshirt. Greg James and Michael Zabetakis are the leading returning scorers, with James averaging 9.2 ppg and Zabetakis putting in 8.3 ppg.
The Wolves split in the Challenge last season when it was hosted in Cleveland, Tenn. by the Lee Flames. UWG beat Palm Beach Atlantic 80-72 in the opener, then lost 72-67 to Embry-Riddle.
• The Dave Moore Era at West Georgia began with a win in this very event last season. In his first game as a head coach, the Wolves were strong, hanging on for an 82-70 victory over Palm Beach Atlantic in Cleveland, Tennessee in the home of the Lee Flames.
• With just three returning regulars from a year ago, Moore and the Wolves will be looking to get started in a strong way this weekend. The newcomers have looked solid in preseason practice and now get the chance to show what they can do to the UWG fan base.
NEW WOLVES TO THE PACK
• Nine new faces have found their way to the UWG roster this season, with four transfers and five freshmen making up the group of newcomers.
• Oronte’ Anderson and Seth Brown-Carter both transferred to UWG from Gordon State for the 2019-20 season. Anderson led Gordon in scoring last year, averaging 13.9 points per game from the point guard spot. Brown-Carter, a 6-4 swingman, was just behind averaging 13.7 points per game as a sophomore at Gordon State.
• Transfer guard Kadeim Jones will also be in the mix. At 6-1, Jones is a big body who can score from all areas of the floor. The Wolves will look for solid minutes off the bench for Jones.
• Junior forward Kovi Tate brings a big body underneath with solid athleticism. Tate averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore at Division II North Greenville last season and will rotate at the 4-5 position this year.
• Seth Brown-Carter has multiple connections with his teammates this season. Brown-Carter first played in high school ball at Henry County High in his hometown of McDonough, Ga. Alongside Brown-Carter at Henry County High School was Kovi Tate. The two were separated for two seasons as Tate went to North Greenville and Brown-Carter to Gordon State before reuniting at UWG this year.
• The other connection is with Oronte’ Anderson, as the pair played last year at Gordon State.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
• Shooting was the name of the game in last year’s meeting between UWG and Embry-Riddle, as ERAU won after shooting 54 percent in the second half compared to the Wolves’ 32 percent.
• The matchup to watch on Saturday evening will likely be in ball-handling. Last season, the Wolves forced 29 turnovers in a victory over Palm Beach Atlantic in Tennessee.
• Four teams on the West Georgia schedule were ranked in the preseason NABC Coaches’ Poll, led by Queens (NC), ranked eighth in the preseason after a run to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons. The Wolves will take on the Royals in The Coliseum on November 20 in a huge non-conference battle.
• Gulf South Conference opponents Valdosta State (12) and Alabama Huntsville (16) are also ranked in the preseason. VSU comes to Carrollton on January 16 while the Wolves take on UAH on November 23 in Huntsville, Ala. and the Chargers will be in town on February 15.
• The final ranked opponent of the season is Morehouse, a team the Wolves will play on November 26 in Atlanta. The Maroon Tigers were 25th in the preseason rankings. Wolves vs. Embry Riddle
• Embry-Riddle finished the 2018-19 season with two wins in their final three games, closing out the year with a 13-18 record overall on the season.
• The Eagles come into the 2019-20 campaign with a relatively young team, as Embry-Riddle has only one senior on this year’s roster. Center Luka Majstorovic is the lone senior.
• This is just the second meeting between the Wolves and the Eagles. The first came on November 10, 2018.
• The only previous matchup came last season in Cleveland, Tennessee, when the Eagles handed the Wolves a 72-65 loss in the most recent version of the GSC/SSC Challenge.
Wolves vs. Palm Beach Atlantic
• Palm Beach Atlantic finished with a 13-16 record in the 2018-19 season, winning three of their final five regular-season games.
• The top two scorers for the Sailfish from a year ago return for the 2019-20 season. De’Ondre Jackson averaged 14.5 points and Jules Jasmin put in 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game a year go for PBA.
• It’s the 3rd meeting all-time between West Georgia and Palm Beach Atlantic.
• West Georgia leads the series 2-0, including last year’s win over the Sailfish 82-70 in the GSC/SSC Challenge to open the year.
• The first meeting between West Georgia and Palm Beach Atlantic goes back to the 2008 season when the Wolves and Sailfish battled in the HPE Building, the former home of the Wolves prior to The Coliseum. West Georgia won that matchup 65-43.