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MBB Game Day Central: William & Mary
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The Liberty men's basketball team heads to William & Mary, Tuesday night, for a showdown with the Tribe. The Flames are looking to avenge last season's 71-59 defeat and snap a two-game losing skid versus the Commonwealth competitor. Standing in their way is a William & Mary squad that is seeking its first win after a 77-69 defeat at Hampton, Friday. Junior guard Marcus Thornton, who has fared well against the Flames in recent years, is coming off a 21-point performance against the Pirates. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
What to Watch For
More "Masz" - While Flames fans may view Antwan Burrus, Davon Marshall and John Caleb Sanders as Liberty's "big three," junior forward Tomasz Gielo could have something to say about that. The Polish player is regarded as being one of the more improved players coming out of the offseason. Gielo's team-leading 14-point performance on Friday could be an indication.
Roll That Beautiful Bean Footage – Liberty's human highlight reel, Andrew Smith, ignited the Vines Center crowd on Friday with several authoritative dunks en route to a 10-point, eight-rebound performance. After starting the final nine contests, last season, Smith looks poised to pick up where he left off.
Healthy Choice – John Caleb Sanders played limited minutes on Friday, but is expected to return to his normal place in the Flames' rotation soon. Sanders underwent ankle surgery during the offseason.
Notes from Liberty's game against Randolph College:
- Playing in front of a Vines Center crowd of 7,043, the Liberty men's basketball team christened the 2013-14 season with a 21-point win, defeating Randolph College, 74-53.
- The attendance mark is the highest at the Vines Center since the Flames squared off with Clemson in front of 8,143 spectators on Nov. 17, 2009.
- Junior Tomasz Gielo paced Liberty with 14 points, followed by Andrew Smith, who had 10 tallies and set a career high with eight rebounds. In his first game back since missing the entire 2012-13 season, redshirt senior forward Antwan Burrus had eight points and five rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
- With the win, Liberty (1-0) moved to 32-10 all-time in home openers and 19-5 when playing its first game of the season in the Vines Center.
Series Record: Liberty leads, 4-3
Current Streak: William & Mary is on a two-game win streak
Series Record at William & Mary: Tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: William & Mary 71, Liberty 59 (Nov. 12, 2012 at Liberty)
Liberty's Last Victory: Liberty 75, William & Mary 72 (Nov. 14, 2011 at W&M)
Liberty Head Coach: Dale Layer
Overall Record (Seasons): 334-261 (21st season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): 64-68 (Fifth season)
Record vs. William & Mary: 2-2
William & Mary Head Coach: Tony Shaver
Overall Record (Seasons): 474-311 (28th Season)
Record at William & Mary (Seasons): 116-190 (11th Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 3-3
- William & Mary is slated to face two other Big South squads in the coming weeks – preseason North Division favorite High Point (Nov. 20) and VMI (Nov. 27).
- Liberty is 10-26 all-time against current CAA members. The Flames are 0-2 versus College of Charleston, 1-3 versus Drexel, 2-7 against James Madison, 0-2 against UNCW, 3-9 versus Towson and 4-3 against William & Mary.
- The Flames have two more CAA teams on the docket, this season. Liberty hosts UNCW on Nov. 18 and plays at Delaware on Jan.1.
Last Time Out Versus William & Mary (Nov. 12, 2012):
- The matchup was a tale of two halves. Liberty finished the first half shooting 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field, while holding William & Mary to 31.6 percent shooting (6-of-19). The Flames also shot 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from behind the three-point arc in the first half. William & Mary went 0-for-7 from downtown in the opening stanza.
- The tides turned in the second half. William & Mary shot 60.0 percent (15-of-25) from the field, while holding Liberty to 22.6 percent (7-of-31) after halftime. The Tribe's sharp shooting in the second half included a 4-of-8 effort from the three-point line.
- Liberty outscored William & Mary in the paint, 21-12, and held a 19-9 advantage in rebounds during the first half. However, in the second half, the Tribe won the battle in the paint, 22-8, and on the boards, 24-15.
- Brandon Britt led the Tribe with a game-high 21 points, followed by Tim Rusthoven (15) and Terry Tarpey (14). Tavares Speaks paced the Flames' offense with 15 tallies. Davon Marshall and Casey Roberts chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Andrew Smith led Liberty with eight rebounds.