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MBB Game Day Central: Longwood
The Liberty men's basketball team is looking for its first win in Farmville, Va., in 36 years when it steps into Willett Hall to take on Longwood, Saturday. The Flames are winless (0-13) in the Lancers' current facility and have not defeated Longwood on the road since picking up an 84-72 victory (Jan. 16, 1979) prior to the completion of Willett Hall.
Liberty is also hoping to snap a five-game losing skid in conference play, as the team looks to avoid going 0-6 for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Meanwhile, Longwood is 1-4 in Big South action, but will be without center Lotanna Nwogbo due to a hand injury. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.
What to Watch for
- In the last four games, Theo Johnson is pacing the Flames in points (9.8 ppg) and rebounds (7.8 rpg). The junior is coming off his first double-double as a Flame, finishing with 10 points and a season-high 10 boards at Charleston Southern on Wednesday.
- Liberty entered Wednesday's game 12th in the country in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.5 percent). However, after the Buccaneers' 17 treys, the Flames dropped to 35th in the category (29.3 percent). Look for Liberty to tighten up on perimeter defense on Saturday.
- Liberty is 0-5 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, 2012). 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.
- In games played away from the Vines Center, Liberty is averaging 55.2 ppg compared to 67.3 ppg for its opponents. The Flames are shooting 39.3 percent, while opponents are shooting 41.0 percent. Liberty is also committing 18.9 turnovers, and allowing just below 13.4 per game.
- In its first five conference games, Liberty is averaging 54.0 ppg and allowing 67.0 ppg. The Flames are shooting 35.7 percent compared to 39.4 percent for their opponents. Liberty is averaging 37.4 rebounds, while opponents are grabbing 38.6 per game. The Flames are committing 15.8 turnovers in conference play and allowing 12.0 per game.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Liberty's contest against the Lancers will likely bring back fond memories for a member of head coach Dale Layer's staff. Current Liberty assistant Coach Vince Walden was a three-year captain and four-year letterwinner at Longwood (1994-98) during the school's NCAA Division II era. Walden was a part of the 1994-95 Lancers' squad that appeared in the 1995 NCAA Division II Tournament. He is currently tied for 10th all-time in program history in career three-point field goal percentage (.366, 89-of-243). After attempting to play on the professional circuit following his collegiate career, Walden later returned to Longwood in 2001 and completed his bachelor's degree in social work.
- Liberty's only road win against the Lancers occurred on Jan. 16, 1979, prior to the completion of Willett Hall. That day, the Flames defeat Longwood, 84-72.
- The Flames are seeking their first win outside the Vines Center, this season. Liberty is 0-7 in true road games and 0-2 when playing at a neutral site. Liberty's last road win dates back to last season, when the Flames defeated Campbell on Feb. 22, 2014, 79-59.
- In the 11 games the Flames have been without the presence of Tomasz Gielo, freshman Peter Moller is leading the Flames in scoring, averaging 9.8 ppg, followed by Theo Johnson with 8.9 ppg. Andrew Smith is shouldering much of the rebounding during the span, grabbing 7.6 boards per game.
Last time vs. Longwood – 2/25/14
- John Caleb Sanders paved the way for the Flames with 22 points, followed by Antwan Burrus and Tomasz Gielo, who each chipped in 20 points apiece in the 90-76 win.
- The trio's performance marks the first time three Flames have finished with 20 points or more since Tavares Speaks (22) Davon Marshall (22) and Sanders (21) accomplished the feat in an 89-72 victory over Campbell (Jan. 29, 2013).
- Along with the trio of 20-point scorers, Andrew Smith finished the contest with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
- After scoring 27 points against the Flames earlier in the season, Lucas Woodhouse concluded the night with 24 points for Longwood, knocking down six three-pointers. Tristan Carey followed up with 20 points.
- In addition to finishing with its second highest scoring effort of the season, the Flames also ended the contest with their third best shooting performance of the year (57.6 percent, 34-of-59).
- Liberty knocked down seven three-pointers and outscored the Lancers in the paint, 50-22. The Flames also finished with eight turnovers.
News and Notes vs. Charleston Southern – 1/14/15
- The Liberty men's basketball team stepped into the Buc Dome, Wednesday night, looking for its first conference win of the season. Unfortunately for the Flames, Saah Nimley was hot from three-point range, hitting seven treys and finishing with a career-high 30 points to lead Charleston Southern to an 80-58 victory.
- Liberty fell to 6-12 on the year and 0-5 in Big South play following the road setback. The Buccaneers improved to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in conference action.
- Freshman Peter Moller, who has taken over the point guard duties in the absence of Joe Retic, led Liberty with 14 points. David Andoh posted 12 points, while Theo Johnson and Andrew Smith each had 10 points. Johnson garnered a double-double with a season-high 10 rebounds. Smith grabbed eight boards.
- Along with Nimley, Will Saunders also knocked down seven three-pointers, finishing with 22 points. The Buccaneers drained 17 three-pointers on the night, the most allowed by a Liberty team since Iona posted 18 on Dec. 18, 2012.
- Charleston Southern shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62), including 47.2 percent (17-of-36) from long distance. Liberty finished with 43.5 percent shooting (20-of-46). In addition to its long range shooting, the Buccaneers recorded 32 points off Liberty's 22 turnovers.