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MBB Game Day Central: Furman
The Liberty men's basketball team returns to action, Friday night, squaring off with Southern Conference member Furman. The matchup marks the first meeting between the two squads in nearly 23 years, with Furman holding a 2-0 lead in the all-time series. Liberty looks to build on a 77-59 victory over Howard, while the Paladins try to bounce back from a 71-35 defeat at Clemson. Tip off inside Timmons Arena is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, Comcast Sports South, ESPN3 and MASN.
Climbing the Ladder – After moving to No. 2 all-time on Liberty's career blocked shots list with 113, Antwan Burrus is looking move up in another category – scoring. Burrus (918) is 82 points away from joining teammate John Caleb Sanders as the 24th member of Liberty's 1,000-point club.
Staying on Track – Through 11 games, Davon Marshall has 27 made three-pointers. Last year, Marshall made 30 three-pointers in the first 11 games en route to setting Liberty's single-season three-point record with 107.
- Antwan Burrus has made 13 consecutive free throws over the span of the last four games. Burrus' last missed free throw occurred with 9:47 remaining in Liberty's game against Hampton on Nov. 29.
- Liberty has won the rebounding battle the last five games, outrebounding its opponents 240-163 and averaging 40.0 rebounds during the span.
- The Flames have held opponents below 40.0 percent shooting in five of the last six games. Austin Peay was the exception, shooting 52.1 percent (25-of-48) against Liberty.
Notes and Anecdotes
- Prior to his days at South Carolina, current Liberty Director of Athletics Barber served five years at Furman, starting as Executive Director of the Paladin Club in 1991, before being promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs in 1994. While at Furman, Barber was responsible for the collection of $14 million in revenue from annual giving, capital gifts and endowed gifts, while guiding the Paladin Club to gifts totaling $3.75 million and set records for five-consecutive years. He was also the chairman of the Furman Pro-Am Golf Endowment Tournament, which totaled receipts of $6.5 million.
- Furman has played one other Big South team, this year, defeating Gardner-Webb in Timmons Arena on Nov. 12, 75-64. Stephen Croone finished the contest with a career-high 30 points, followed by William Gates Jr., who added 18. Jerome Hill led Gardner-Webb with 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
- Liberty's most recent game against Furman on Jan. 17, 1991, was actually just its third contest in the Vines Center. The Flames opened the facility against VMI on Nov. 30, 1990 and then played Roanoke College on Dec. 8 before hosting the Paladins.
- Before being named Furman's head coach, Niko Medved spent six seasons as an assistant at Colorado State. Medved joined the Rams' coaching staff in the 2007-08 campaign, serving five seasons under Tim Miles and one under Larry Eustachy. Prior to the tenures of Miles and Eustachy, Dale Layer served as the head coach at Colorado State, leading the Rams for seven seasons (2000-2007).
- Along with the two head coaches, Furman assistant coach Dorian Green also has ties to the Colorado State program, having played at point guard for the Rams (2010-13). Green helped lead the Rams to four consecutive postseason appearances during his four-year playing career in Fort Collins, Colo., including at-large NCAA Tournament berths in 2012 and 2013.
- Two of Furman's assistant coaches have Big South ties. Now in his third year at Furman, Bob Richey spent the previous five seasons at Charleston Southern. As an associate head coach at Charleston Southern, Richey was instrumental in recruiting current Buccaneers Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley.
- Furman assistant Jay McCauley was in the Big South, spending the last three seasons as an assistant at Gardner-Webb. This past year, McCauley helped guide the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 21-13 overall record, 11-5 Big South Conference mark and a berth in the College Insider Tournament. The Runnin' Bulldogs were eliminated in the semifinals of the 2013 Big South Championship by the Flames, 65-62 (March 9).
- Liberty enters Saturday's contest 22-36 all-time against current members of the Southern Conference. The Flames are 1-4 versus Appalachian State, 1-2 against Chattanooga, 1-2 versus the Citadel, 2-2 against Davidson, 5-11 versus Elon, 0-2 against Furman, 0-4 versus Samford, 9-7 against UNC Greensboro, 2-2 versus Western Carolina and 1-0 against Wofford.