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MBB Game Day Central: Coastal Carolina
The Liberty men's basketball team returns to the Vines Center on Saturday, squaring off with defending Big South champion Coastal Carolina. Liberty leads the all-time series, 28-24, but saw a three-game winning streak against the Chanticleers snapped, last season, due to a 66-64 defeat inside The HTC Center. This season, Coastal Carolina comes into the contest sporting a 12-3 record overall and a 3-0 mark in conference action. Meanwhile, Liberty is searching for its first conference victory of the season. Tipoff for Saturday's contest is slated for 7 p.m., and broadcasts live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, MASN HD, ESPN3 and the Big South Network.
What to Watch for
- A.C. Reid returned to the Flames lineup on Thursday, playing for 11 minutes against Asheville. Prior to his return, Reid averaged 4.6 ppg in the first 12 games. Look for Reid's role to increase as he becomes re-acclimated to on-court action.
- Liberty is looking to avoid starting 0-4 in conference play for the first time since the 2011-12 season. That year, the Flames started the Big South slate 0-6 before snapping the skid in a 69-64 victory over Radford (Jan. 12, 2011). Liberty went on to finish fifth in the conference standings with a 9-9 conference record, winning nine of its final 12 Big South matchups.
- Through Liberty's first three conference games Joe Retic is pacing Flames' offense, averaging 10.3 ppg. The junior point guard is also averaging five assists per game in Big South action. Overall, Retic is currently first in the Big South in steals (1.9 spg) and second in assists (5.7 apg).
- In three conference games, Liberty is averaging 52.7 ppg, while allowing 62.0 ppg. The Flames are also averaging 36.3 rebounds, compared to 38.3 for their opponents. Liberty is also committing an average of 14.7 turnovers per game. The Flames' opponents have commited an average of 13.0 per contest.
- In eight home contests, Liberty is averaging 69.9 ppg and allowing 57.9 ppg. The Flames are pulling down 41.2 boards per game, compared to 32.8 for their opponents. Liberty is also committing 15.0 turnovers per games, while allowing 12.4.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Prior to becoming the head coach at Coastal Carolina, Cliff Ellis coached opposite of Liberty three times in his previous two coaching stints, going 3-0 in the trio of matchups. During his tenure at Clemson, the Tigers squared off with the Flames on two occasions. In the first meeting, Clemson defeated Liberty, 96-71 (Feb. 11, 1989). The Tigers then bested Liberty during the Flames' 1992-93 season opener (Dec. 2, 1992), 93-68. During his time at Auburn, Ellis and the Tigers hosted the Flames on Dec. 8, 1995, picking up a narrow 63-58 victory.
- In Liberty junior Theo Johnson's freshman year at College of Charleston, the Cougars hosted Coastal Carolina on Dec. 22, 2012, defeating the Chanticleers, 60-51. Johnson had three points and three rebounds in eight minutes of action. Kierre Greenwood and El Hadji Ndieguene led the Chanticleers with 17 and 14 tallies, respectively.
- That same season, the Chanticleers hosted the Flames in the opening round of the 2013 Big South Tournament, which resulted in a 78-61 victory for the Flames (March 5, 2013). Liberty went on to capture the championship inside The HTC Center with an 87-76 victory versus Charleston Southern (March 10, 2013).
- Liberty has won its last two meetings with the Chanticleers in the Vines Center. Coastal Carolina's last victory in the Vines Center was on Jan. 8, 2011. The Chanticleers won the contest, 70-67.
Last Time Out vs. Coastal Carolina - 1/29/14
- Despite Liberty holding a five-point lead with 3:39 remaining, the Chanticleers hit two crucial three-pointers to help erase the deficit and received a short fade-away jumper from Warren Gillis with 1.6 seconds to put Coastal Carolina ahead. Antwan Burrus had a good look from outside the three-point arc, but the ball bounced off the left side of the rim, allowing the Chanticleers to hang on for the 66-64 decision.
- Liberty shot 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field in the contest, compared to 46.8 for the Chanticleers.
- Gillis finished with a game-high 18 points for the Chanticleers. Josh Cameron (13), Elijah Wilson (13) and Badou Diagne (11) rounded out Coastal Carolina's double-figure scorers.
News and Notes vs. UNC Asheville – 1/8/15
- The Liberty men's basketball team stepped into UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena looking for its first win in conference play, Thursday night. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs had other plans as David Robertson posted a game-high 20 points to lead Asheville over Liberty, 71-54.
- The Flames fall to 6-10 on the season and 0-3 in Big South action, while Asheville improves to 7-7 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
- Along with Robertson, Bulldogs' leading scorer Andrew Rowsey had 13 points, while Chudier Pal chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.
- Asheville shot 41.0 percent (25-of-61) from the field, while holding the Flames to 35.4 percent (17-of-48). The Bulldogs capitalized on second chance points, 21-9, as well as points off turnovers, 17-4. Fourteen of Liberty's 17 miscues occurred in the first half.