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MBB Game Day Central: Virginia Tech
Starting 2-0 for the first time in 15 years, the Liberty men's basketball team looks to continue the trend against ACC member Virginia Tech, Wednesday, at 7 p.m. in Blacksburg. The meeting marks the first between the two squads since the 2007-08 season, with the Hokies leading the all-time series, 13-3.
What to Watch for
- After guiding Liberty to its 600th program win with a career-high 23 points, Tomasz Gielo is looking to continue his hot streak. The Polish player is averaging 18.5 ppg, the most by a Liberty player in the first two games of the season since Kyle Ohman averaged 19.0 ppg at the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
- David Andoh has been a solid contributor off the bench for the Flames in the first two games, averaging 9.5 ppg. Andoh put the Flames on top for good against Delaware, Monday night, sinking a jumper with 1:38 on the clock.
- Joe Retic is setting a positive tone as Liberty's floor general. Against Delaware he contributed in all areas, finishing with finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal. Retic was instrumental during Liberty's 10-0 second-half run, dishing out assists on Gielo's three-pointer and an Andrew Smith alley-oop.
- Buzz Williams served on Dale Layer's staff for four seasons (2000-01 through 2003-04). Beginning as an assistant coach with the Colorado State Rams, Williams was promoted to associate head coach for the 2003-04 campaign. During the 2002-03 season, Colorado State captured the Mountain West Championship, punching its ticket to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The tournament bid marked the program's first NCAA appearance in 13 years.
- After Layer's one year as an assistant at Liberty under Ritchie McKay, he joined Williams' staff at Marquette for the 2008-09 season. Working with the guards, Layer helped the Eagles to a 25-10 record and a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament despite lacking the full-time services of All-American Dominic James, who was injured near the end of the season.
Notes and Anecdotes
- During Layer's stint as an assistant as an assistant coach at Liberty under Ritchie McKay, the Flames squared off with the Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum, resulting in a 58-46 win for the Hokies (Dec. 19, 2007). Alex McLean led Liberty with 14 points, while Deron Washington paced the Hokies with 17 tallies.
- Of the current ACC members, the Hokies are the Flames' most common opponent, with the two squads matching up a total of 16 times. Virginia Tech leads the series, 13-3, with all three of Liberty's victories occurring prior to the Hokies joining the ACC.
- Liberty earned its first-ever win over Virginia Tech on Jan. 25, 1992. Parish Hickman paced the Flames with 25 points and seven rebounds, followed by Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Matt Hildebrand, who had 23 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals.
- Liberty also defeated the Hokies in back-to-back seasons at Cassell Coliseum. The Flames edged Virginia Tech, 62-61 (Dec. 11, 1999), and again the following year, 61-56 (Nov. 28, 2000).
Notes from Liberty's game vs. Delaware
-Thanks in part to career-high 23-point performance from Tomasz Gielo, the Liberty men's basketball is off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 15 years. Liberty defeated Delaware, Monday night, inside the Vines Center, 61-55, earning its 600th victory in program history.
-Prior to the contest, Liberty had not started a season 2-0 since the 1999-2000 campaign. With the victory, the Flames pick up their first-ever win against the Blue Hens, tying the series at 1-1. Liberty avenged last season's 77-64 defeat against the defending CAA champions in the Bob Carpenter Center (Jan. 1, 2014). Delaware begins the 2014-15 season at 0-1.
- Along with his 23-point performance, Gielo also led the way with a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior guard Joe Retic concluded the night with a full stat line, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal. Forwards James Johnson and David Andoh each had nine tallies.
- Liberty shot 37.7 percent (20-of-53) from the field in the contest, holding the Blue Hens to 29.9 percent (20-of-67). Delaware edged Liberty in the paint (22-16), but the Flames capitalized from long distance, outscoring the Blue Hens at the three-point line, 18-9.