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MBB Game Day Central: No. 4 South Winthrop
After garnering the No. 5 seed in the Big South Conference North Division, defending conference champion Liberty will square off with the South Division's No. 4 seed Winthrop, in the opening round of the 2014 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Championship. The contest will take place on Wednesday inside Coastal Carolina's arena, The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Tipoff is slated for noon with the contest airing live on the Big South Network. The winner will meet overall No. 1 seed High Point in the quarterfinals, Friday at noon on ESPN3.
Liberty and Winthrop met once in the regular season on Feb. 4. Despite the contest being a close affair in the first 35 minutes, the Eagles used a 15-3 run in the final five to pull out the 73-62 decision.
The Flames and Eagles have met five times in the Big South Championship, with Winthrop holding a 4-1 advantage in postseason play. The last postseason meeting between the two squads took place in Dale Layer's first season as Liberty's head coach, resulting in an 80-72 win for the Eagles inside the Winthrop Coliseum (March 2, 2010).
Big South Championship Notes
- The Flames are making their 23rd appearance in the conference tournament. Liberty holds a 21-19 (.525) record all-time in the Big South Championship, with five finals appearances and three titles (1994, 2004 and 2013).
- Two of Liberty's three 2013 Big South All-Tournament team members return to The HTC Center, this year. Davon Marshall led the Flames in scoring through last year's tournament, averaging 18.0 ppg. Marshall set a tournament record with 17 three-pointers and was named the MVP. John Caleb Sanders followed close behind with 17.0 ppg through the four-game span. Sanders tied a career-high with 27 points in Liberty's 2013 Big South Championship finals victory over Charleston Southern (87-76, March 10, 2013).
- Liberty enters the tournament as the No. 5 North seed for the second straight year. The Flames also enter postseason play with the same regular-season record (11-20) as the 2012-13 squad.