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MBB Game Day Central: Princeton
The Liberty men's basketball team returns to action, Monday night, squaring off with Princeton inside Jadwin Gym. The Flames look to avenge last season's loss to the Tigers. In a tightly contested game inside the Vines Center on Jan. 4, 2014, Princeton pulled away in the final minutes to squeak out an 80-74 decision. This season, Liberty is looking for its first road win, while Princeton is coming off a 77-55 win over Lipscomb at home. Tipoff for the rematch is slated for 7 p.m.
What to Watch for
- James Johnson is coming off a career-high night, posting 20 points in Friday's game against Central Penn. Johnson took advantage of his high percentage opportunities, going 9-of-10 from the field. The big man's 20-point performance is the first of his collegiate career and the third by a Flame, this season.
- Andrew Smith needs one more rebound to reach 400 for his career. Smith, who is currently 32nd on Liberty's all-time rebounding list, leads the team in boards, averaging 7.5 per game.
- Joe Retic may not have taken a shot on Friday, but he was spreading holiday cheer, finishing the contest with seven assists. The junior point guard is averaging eight helpers in the last five games. Retic is second in assists among Big South players and first in steals.
- Big South Freshman of the Week Peter Moller is continuing to provide the Flames with offense, recording 14 points in Friday's contest. Moller is averaging 13.8 ppg in the last four contests and is pacing the Flames offense during the span.
- The Flames are looking to build upon their best shooting performance of the season, going 38-of-62 from the field (61.3 percent). Against Central Penn, Liberty posted a season-high 94 points, including 58 points in the paint.
- In games away from the Vines Center, the Flames are averaging 58.4 points per game while allowing 67.4 (-9.0). Dale Layer's squad is shooting 41.5 percent (105-of-253), with opponents shooting 43.3 percent (114-of-263). Liberty is also giving up 19.0 turnovers per game, forcing its opponents to commit just under 14. In terms of rebounding, the Flames are pulling down 34.6 boards, compared to 33.6 for the opposition.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Prior to coaching at Princeton, head coach Mitch Henderson served as an assistant at Northwestern for 11 seasons (2000-11) under Bill Carmody. During Henderson's time there, the Wildcats hosted the Flames in Layer's first season as head coach (Nov. 24, 2009). The contest served as part of the Chicago Invitational and resulted in a 69-53 win for the Wildcats.
- Besides Princeton, Liberty has played just one other Ivy League member in program history. The Flames squared off with Yale on Jan. 8, 2000, defeating the Bulldogs, 67-55. Liberty used a 13-0 run to start the second half to seal the win. Delawn Grandison led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Maurice Watkins, who had 16 tallies.
- Coincidentally, Dale Layer also has a win over Yale in his head coaching career, marking the only other Ivy League member the skipper has coached against. In his fourth game as head coach at Colorado State, on Nov. 30, 2000, Layer's Rams defeated the Bulldogs, 83-47.
- Before coming to Liberty, junior forward David Andoh spent his freshman year at San Jose State. On Nov. 30, Princeton squared off with the Spartans, earning a 69-54 win. Spencer Weisz led the Tigers with 16 points while Hans Brase chipped in 15 tallies.
- Princeton freshman Aaron Young is a native of Falls Church, Va., and played at Virginia Episcopal School (VES) in Lynchburg, Va. Averaging 13.3 ppg last season, Young was a First-team All-Virginia Independent Conference Division I honoree in 2014 while leading VES to the VIC state semifinals and earning all-tournament honors. VES is located approximately nine miles from Liberty's campus.
Last time vs. Princeton - 1/4/14
- Despite sinking more three-pointers than the renowned Princeton offense, the Liberty men's basketball team came up short against the Tigers, dropping an 80-74 decision inside the Vines Center.
- Entering the game averaging just under six three-pointers made per contest, the Flames knocked down a season-high 10 treys, shooting 50.0 percent behind the arc and 53.1 percent (26-of-49) from the field. Princeton finished with 48.1 shooting (26-of-54), including 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) from three-point land, falling shy of its average of 10.5 three-pointers per game. After swishing seven three-pointers in the first half, the Tigers went just 2-of-15 (13.3 percent) from long distance in the second.
- John Caleb Sanders led all scorers with a season-high 25 points, while Tomasz Gielo chipped in a then career-high 20 tallies. Davon Marshall drained four three-pointers and added a free throw for 13 points.