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MBB Game Day Central: Howard
The Liberty men's basketball team returns to action, Tuesday night, playing host to Howard. The Flames look to bounce back after seeing their three-game wins streak snapped in a 77-71 defeat at Austin Peay. Howard (3-11) will step into the Vines Center, looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of the season. The Bison picked up their first-ever win over the Flames, last season, taking the contest inside Burr Gymnasium, 60-53 (Dec. 15, 2012). Tipoff for the fourth installment in the all-time series is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, Comcast Sports South, ESPN3, MASN and the Big South Network.
All About Burrus – Antwan Burrus is coming off a career-night, dropping 27 points at Austin Peay. The big man went 11-of-16 from the field, including 1-of-1 from three-point range and 4-of-4 at the charity stripe. Burrus capped the night with a three-pointer, his first made trey since hitting a 30-foot buzzer beater at Charleston Southern (Feb. 9, 2012), which landed at No.2 on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 plays.
Burrus enters Tuesday's contest with 902 career points, needing 98 to join John Caleb Sanders as the 24th member of Liberty's 1,000-point club. The redshirt senior (111) also needs two more blocks to surpass Julius Nwosu (1991-93) for second all-time on Liberty's career blocks list.
Chasing Big Brother
John Caleb Sanders is steadily moving up Liberty's all-time scoring ladder. The senior is currently in 19th with 1,125 points. Sanders needs 111 points to surpass older brother Jesse (15th, 1,235 points). John Caleb is coming off a season-high 16-point performance at Austin Peay, Saturday and has posted double-digit scoring figures in the last four games.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Prior to coaching at Howard, head coach Kevin Nickelberry spent three seasons at Hampton (2006-09), amassing a 49-44 record with the Pirates. Liberty recently squared off with Hampton in the Corpus Christi Challenge, picking up a 70-53 win (Nov. 29, 2013).
- Liberty holds a 12-9 record over current members of the MEAC. The Flames are 2-0 against Coppin State, 0-1 against Delaware State, 1-0 against Florida A&M, 3-2 against Hampton, 2-1 versus Howard, 2-0 versus Maryland-Eastern Shore, 1-2 against Morgan State, 1-2 against Norfolk State and 0-1 versus North Carolina A&T.
- The Flames 2012-13 season came to an end at the hands of a MEAC opponent, as North Carolina A&T edged Liberty in the NCAA First Four, 73-72 (March 19, 2013).
- Liberty has won the rebounding battle the last five games, outrebounding its opponents 200-138 and averaging 40.0 rebounds during the span.
Last time vs. Howard
- After leading by seven at halftime, the Flames went eight-plus minutes without a field goal at the start of the second half, allowing the Bison to go on a 15-1 run en route to a 60-53 victory.
- Davon Marshall led the Flames with 13 points, followed by Casey Roberts who chipped in 11. JR Coronado concluded the contest with 11 rebounds.
- Mike Phillips led the Bison with a game-high 19 points. Calvin Thompson and Simuel Frazier added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the home team.
- The contest marked the 2012-13 debut of Joel Vander Pol, who had missed the previous nine games due to a back injury.