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MBB Game Day Central: Winthrop
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Complete Game Notes
After defeating North Division leader Campbell, Tuesday, the Liberty men's basketball team heads to a place where it has not tasted victory in nearly nine years. The Flames square off against Winthrop, Saturday, looking for their first win inside the Winthrop Coliseum since the 2003-04 season.
The Eagles hold a 32-15 advantage in the all-time series, including an 18-5 record at home against the Flames. Liberty hopes to pick up back-to-back conference wins for the first time this season, while ending a three-game skid versus Winthrop. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest airing live on MASN.
What to Watch for
- Liberty's top three scorers of Davon Marshall, John Caleb Sanders and Tavares Speaks became the first trio of Flames to post 20-points in the same game in nearly five years. Marshall has now recorded back-to-back 20-point performances, while Speaks carries an 11-game double-digit scoring streak into Saturday's contest. As for Sanders, he is steadily making the climb to one day joining his brother in Liberty's 1,000 point club. The junior guard currently has 754 points.
- Andrew Smith served as the Flames' human highlight reel, landing at No. 7 on ESPN Sports Center's Top 10 Plays with his block and fast break layup in the first half of Liberty's victory over Campbell. Smith followed up later with an authoritative alley-oop off an inbounds pass from Larry Taylor during the second half. Look for the sophomore to continue to make big plays that ignite the Flames' offense.
- Joel Vander Pol received the start on Tuesday, marking the first time since Dec. 6, 2011 against UNC Wilmington. After missing the first nine games of the season, Vander Pol is now second on the team in rebounding average (5.6 rpg) and tied for third in blocks with 11 on the year.
- Liberty has outrebounded its opponent in the last four contests, representing its longest streak of the season. During the span, the Flames have averaged 37.0 boards per game while allowing 32.0.
- Look for Winthrop to attempt to make the contest a low scoring affair. The Eagles are 12th in in the conference in scoring offense (60.2), but are second in scoring defense (60.9). In its last five games, Winthrop has held its opponents under 60 points.