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MBB Game Day Central: UNC Asheville
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Note: Includes all important Game Day links (live video, live audio, live stats, etc.)
Complete Game Notes
Stepping into Big South Conference play for the first time this season, the Liberty men's basketball team faces a stiff test, Saturday, squaring off with two-time defending champion UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series against the Flames 29-20 after sweeping Liberty, last season. This year, the two squads will meet just once during the regular season due to the new 12-team conference structure.
Saturday's contest will be televised LIVE on the Liberty Channel, MASN, ESPN3, Comcast Sports South and Charter SportSoutheast (Asheville area). Mike Tilley will be the play-by-play announcer, with Tim Scarborough handling color analysis. A live radio broadcast will also be available on LibertyFlames.com (Flagship WRVL 88.3), with Alan York calling play-by-play.
The contest is the second part of a doubleheader, which opens with a matchup between the Liberty Lady Flames and UNC Asheville at 3 p.m. Flames fans can purchase a ticket for five dollars as a part of Liberty's TRBC night.
What to Watch for
- Joel Vander Pol continues to show progression since his return to the court. After garnering a double-double against Union College on Dec. 28, which included a career-high 11 rebounds, the 6-10 center followed up with a career-high four blocks at Western Carolina, this past Monday. Last year's conference opener at Campbell turned into a career-high night for Vander Pol (20 points). Look for the redshirt junior to continue to provide an extra presence inside as the Flames step into conference play.
- Last season, John Caleb Sanders was Liberty's leading scorer in games against Asheville (16.5 ppg). In the Flames' last four games, the Sugar Land, Texas native has paced the Liberty offense, averaging 14.0 ppg. However, since his career-high 24-point performance against Milligan on Dec. 21, the junior guard has averaged just 8.0 points. Can Sanders turn things around in Liberty's conference opener against the two-time defending conference champion?
- Big South Conference openers have not been kind to Liberty over the years, as the Flames are 6-15 all-time. However, a win over the Bulldogs would give the Flames victories in three of their last four conference openers.