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MBB Game Day Central: Virginia
The Liberty men's basketball team (1-3) looks to halt its three-game losing skid, Saturday, when it steps into John Paul Jones Arena to take on ACC member Virginia. Standing in the way of the Flames is a 3-1 Cavaliers squad that is coming off a 67-42 home victory over Navy on Tuesday. While the Cavaliers lead the all-time series, 6-2, Liberty is no stranger to pulling off the upset inside JPJ, doing so with an 86-82 win over Virginia on Nov. 25, 2008. Tipoff for Saturday's contest, which is part of the Corpus Christi Challenge, is slated for 4 p.m.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Before joining Tony Bennett's staff at Virginia, current Cavaliers associate head coach Ritchie McKay served as the head coach of the Flames for two seasons (2007-08, 2008-09). In his first season at Liberty, McKay led the Flames to a 16-16 record. The following year, Liberty went 23-12, making an appearance in the CIT.
- McKay coached the Flames to victory during their last visit to John Paul Jones Arena in an 86-82 upset of the Cavaliers (Nov. 25, 2008). Liberty was led by 26-point performances from Kyle Ohman and Seth Curry and a 21-point effort by Anthony Smith.
- Current Liberty head coach Dale Layer was a member of McKay's staff as an assistant coach during the 2007-08 season, before joining Buzz Williams' staff at Marquette the following year. Layer returned to the Hill City the following year, succeeding McKay as the eighth head coach of the Flames.
- Upon starting the men's basketball program at Queens University (then Queens College), Layer hired McKay as an assistant during the 1989-90 season, marking Layer's first head coaching gig and McKay's first full-time coaching position. McKay later returned the favor, hiring Layer as a member of his staff at Colorado State. After McKay accepted the head coaching position at Oregon State, Layer was named the head coach of the Rams (2000-07). Layer remained at Colorado State for seven seasons, before reuniting with McKay again at Liberty for the 2007-08 season.
- Current Virginia director of basketball operations Brad Soucie also spent time at Liberty, serving as an assistant under McKay (2007-09).
- Liberty graduate assistant Solomon Tat was a four-year letterwinner at Virginia (2007-10), playing under Bennett in his final season. During the 2009-10 campaign, Tat was a senior captain, appearing in 14 contests. Apart from his time at Virginia, Tat, a native of Jos Plateau, Nigeria, also competed for the Nigerian national team (2001-11).