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MBB Game Day Central: UNC Asheville
Game Day Central
Liberty Game Notes
The Liberty men's basketball team looks to bounce back from an 0-2 start in Big South play, when the Flames head to Asheville, N.C., to take on UNC Asheville inside Kimmel Arena, Thursday. Liberty has yet to defeat the Bulldogs in the facility, and is seeking its first win against Asheville since an 83-81 overtime win in the Vines Center on Jan. 27, 2011. The last time the Flames picked up a win over the Bulldogs in Asheville, N.C., occurred on Jan. 2 of that year, when Liberty edged Asheville in the Justice Center, 59-55.
Asheville leads the all-time series over the Flames, 31-20, winning the last four meetings. This year, the Bulldogs are 2-0 in conference and boast the conference's leading scorer in Lexington, Va., native Andrew Rowsey (19.5 ppg). Tipoff for Thursday's contest is slated for 7 p.m.
What to Watch for
- On Saturday, Ethan Layer went 4-of-5 from three-point land to finish with a career-high 12 points. Layer becomes the third Flame this season to post four three-pointers in a game, joining Tomasz Gielo and Peter Moller.
- Joe Retic concluded Saturday's contest with 14 points and seven assists. Retic's assist total marks the ninth time he has recorded five or more assists, this season. The junior point guard is also averaging 13.0 ppg in the last two contests.
- Liberty has went seven straight games without being outrebounded by its opponent. The Flames have had more boards in six of the seven contests. Against Campbell of Dec. 31, Liberty and the Camels each finished the contest with 41 rebounds.
- Liberty has reduced its turnovers as of late, averaging just over 13 in the last three games (currently 16.7 on the season). The Flames' 12 turnovers against Presbyterian ties a season low. Liberty also had 12 turnovers in its 61-55 win over Delaware (Nov. 17).
- The Flames have had six different starting lineups, this season. Through 15 contests this season, James Johnson is the only Flame to start every game.
Notes and Anecdotes
- The Flames are looking to snap a four-game losing skid to UNC Asheville. Liberty's last win against the Bulldogs on Jan. 27, 2011. On that day, the Flames' John Brown connected on a buzzer beating layup to defeat UNC Asheville, 83-81, in overtime.
- Liberty is also seeking its first win inside Kimmel Arena. The Flames are 0-3 in the facility, which includes an 88-74 defeat to Charleston Southern in the 2012 Big South Championship quarterfinals on Feb. 29, 2012.
- Liberty's 0-2 start in conference play marks its third in four seasons. The Flames hope to avoid beginning the Big South slate 0-3 for the first time since the 2011-12. That year, Liberty went 0-4 before earning a 69-64 win over Radford (Jan. 12, 2012).
Last Time vs. Asheville – Feb. 8, 2014
- Squaring off with UNC Asheville, the Liberty men's basketball team nearly pulled off the comeback after being down by as much as 14 during the first half. With the Bulldogs up by 13 at halftime, Liberty took advantage of Asheville's 10-minute plus scoring drought from the field, eventually taking the lead with 9:06 to play.
- Liberty led by two with just over a minute to go and had possession following an Asheville turnover, before Andrew Rowsey stripped the ball and laid it back in to tie the game. Asheville took the lead with free throws and held a three-point advantage in the final second. Forward Antwan Burrus took one last three-point attempt for Liberty from the right side, but the ball careened over the rim, giving Asheville the narrow 75-72 victory.
- Liberty shot 41.0 percent (25-of-61) in the contest, while Asheville concluded the afternoon shooting 48.1 percent (25-of-52). Despite hitting over 50 percent in the first half and connecting on nine three-pointers, Asheville went 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) from the floor and 0-of-9 from downtown during the second stanza.
- The Flames edged Asheville in the paint (46-41) and at the foul line (19-16). Liberty capitalized on points off turnovers (23-8) and second chance points (18-3). The Bulldogs held the advantage from long range (27-9) and on fast break points (23-14).
- Burrus paced the Flames with 22 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Andrew Smith finished with a double-double, chipping in 14 points and 10 boards. Tomasz Gielo and Joe Retic rounded out Liberty's double-figure scorers with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
- Jaron Lane led all scorers with 29 points, followed by Rowsey, who had 23 points.
News and Notes vs. Presbyterian – 1/3/15
- The Liberty men's basketball team looked to get back into the win column, Saturday night, playing host to Presbyterian. Unfortunately for the Flames, the Blue Hose had other plans. Guided by a 16-point, 11 rebound performance from freshman DeSean Murray, Presbyterian took the lead early in the first half and did not look back, earning a 62-58 victory inside the Vines Center.
- The Blue Hose (5-10, 1-1 Big South) led by as much as 14 in the contest, with Liberty (6-9, 0-2 Big South) making it a one-point game with 1:44 remaining in the contest.
- Murray's performance comes after missing the previous 12 games due to injury. Presbyterian leading scorer on the season, Jordan Downing followed up the freshman's effort with 14 tallies.
- Joe Retic paced the Flames with 14 points, followed by Ethan Layer (12) and Theo Johnson (10). Johnson also had seven boards to go along with his point total. Retic also dished out seven assists. Layer's career high 12 points came after hitting 4-of-5 shots from three-point land.
- Presbyterian shot 50.0 percent (25-of-50) in the contest, while holding the Flames to 38.2 percent (21-of-55). The Blue Hose outpointed Liberty in the paint, 40-26. The Flames edged Presbyterian from long range, 15-6, and in rebounds, 38-33.