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MBB Game Day Central: Corpus Christi Challenge
After a close loss at Missouri State, the Liberty men's basketball team heads to Corpus Christi, Texas for its final two contests in the Corpus Christi Challenge. The Flames begin their stay in the Lone Star State with a meeting versus a fellow Commonwealth competitor – the Hampton Pirates. Liberty looks to get back on the winning track and break up the 2-2 stalemate in the all-time series against the MEAC member. Meanwhile, Hampton hopes to snap a four-game losing skid after winning its first two contests of the season. Tipoff in the American Bank Center is slated for 1 p.m. (CST)/2 p.m. (EST).
Free Throw Frenzy – After going 12-of-12 at the charity stripe against Virginia, the Flames did not fare as well at the foul line versus Missouri State, hitting 4-of-15 free throws on the night. Liberty will look to turn things around at the line on Friday. Prior to its flawless effort at John Paul Jones Arena, last Saturday, the last time Liberty had a better performance from the line was in its 74-65 win over the Pirates (18-of-18, Dec. 17, 2011).
The Grand Marshall – After cracking Liberty's Top 50 career scoring list, Tuesday, Davon Marshall continues to chase the consecutive free throw record held by Seth Curry (41). Marshall has currently made 31 consecutive free throws dating back to last season. Apart from his performance at the foul line, Marshall could be chasing another record from behind the three-point arc – his own. Through the first six games, last season, Marshall made 17 treys, going on to claim the program's single-season record with 107. How many three-pointers does Marshall have through six games, this season? Seventeen.
Who's Next? – After their meeting against the Pirates, the Flames are slated to face either Arkansas-Pine Bluff or Sam Houston State, Saturday. A matchup with the Golden Lions would be a first for Liberty. However, Dale Layer's squad is familiar with Sam Houston State, having tasted defeat against the Bearkats, last season, in Huntsville, Texas, 64-50 (Nov. 20, 2012).
Notes and Anecdotes
- Liberty holds an 11-9 record over current members of the MEAC. The Flames are 2-0 against Coppin State, 0-1 against Delaware State, 1-0 against Florida A&M, 2-2 against Hampton, 2-0 versus Howard, 2-0 versus Maryland-Eastern Shore, 1-2 against Morgan State, 1-2 against Norfolk State and 0-1 versus North Carolina A&T.
- The Flames 2012-13 season came to an end at the hands of a MEAC opponent, as North Carolina A&T edged Liberty in the NCAA First Four, 73-72 (March 19, 2013).
- Friday's contest marks the first time the Flames and Pirates face off on a neutral court. In the four previous meetings, two have taken place in the Vines Center and the other two inside the Hampton University Convocation Center.
News and Notes from Liberty vs. Missouri State (11/26/13)
- The Liberty men's basketball team nearly pulled off the upset in its second game of the Corpus Christi Challenge. Squaring off with Missouri State, Tuesday night, inside JQH Arena, the Bears (5-0) prevented the Flames (1-5) from connecting on a shot at the buzzer to take the contest, 54-52.
- The contest ended in bizarre fashion. With the Bears up by two in the final seconds, JR Coronado heaved up a desperation three-point attempt and was fouled on the play. The senior missed all free throws, but an inadvertent whistle by the official created a jump ball scenario with the possession arrow pointed to the Flames. Liberty had a chance for one final play. Davon Marshall attempted what would have been a game-winning three-pointer, but the Bears defense stifled the shot, giving the home team their fifth straight win.
- Liberty finished the contest with 42.9 percent shooting from the field (21-of-49), compared to 33.9 percent (19-of-56) for the Bears. The Flames edged Missouri State from three-point land, 18-15. Although Missouri State entered the contest 11th in the country in three-point shooting percentage (45.6 percent), the Liberty defense held the Bears to 22.7 percent from long range (5-of-22). Despite going 12-of-12 from the foul line at Virginia on Saturday, Dale Layer's squad went 4-for-16 at the charity stripe on the night.
- The Flames won the rebounding battle, 36-35. However, the Bears capitalized on points off turnovers, outscoring Liberty, 18-0.
- Marshall led the Flames with a game-high 17 points, cracking the Top 50 on Liberty's all-time scoring list. The Niagara Falls, N.Y. native now is now 49th with 579 tallies. Antwan Burrus followed up with a 10-point performance. John Caleb Sanders finished with nine points to break into to the Top 20 in Liberty scoring. Sanders now has 1,071 career points.