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MBB Game Day Central: VMI
The Liberty men's basketball team remains on the road for Big South Conference play on Saturday, squaring off with VMI. The Keydets are coming off a 95-72 win over Longwood, while the Flames are looking to bounce back from a 72-63 defeat at Radford. Dale Layer's squad must now turn its attention to the No. 1 scoring offense in the country. Liberty hopes to secure a win inside Cameron Hall for the first time since Jan. 2, 2010 and tie the all-time series with the Keydets. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m., with the contest streaming live on the Big South Network.
Players to Watch
- Despite losing Stan Okoye to graduation, the Keydets have a budding star to carry the mantle in QJ Peterson. The freshman guard is leading the conference in scoring, averaging 20.8 ppg.
- In two games versus the Keydets, last season, John Caleb Sanders averaged 17.0 ppg shooting 47.8 percent (11-of-23) and 81.8 percent (9-of-11) from the free throw line. Conversely, Rodney Glasgow and D.J. Covington averaged 15.5 and 13.5 ppg, respectively, against the Flames. Covington had a total of 11 blocks in the two games against Liberty.
- Davon Marshall appears to be returning to form after a recent three-game slump in which he averaged 3.0 ppg against Furman, Southeastern (Fla.) and Delaware. Marshall has averaged 12.0 ppg in the two games since.
- Antwan Burrus made his return to the court, Wednesday night, after missing a game due to back spasms. Last season, the Flames were without Burrus, who has averaged 13.6 ppg and 8.2 rpg in his six games against the Keydets.
Rebounding Battle – This past Wednesday, Liberty saw its 10-game streak of outrebounding its opponent snapped by the Highlanders. The Flames now take on the No. 1 rebounding team in the conference, as VMI averages 42.8 boards per game. However, the Keydets are also 12th in rebounding defense (43.7 rpg), while the Flames are first, holding opponents to 30.1 rpg.
Notes and Anecdotes
- VMI associate coach Jason Allison is a Liberty alum, and was a three-year letterwinner with the Flames under coach Jeff Meyer (1996-98). During his collegiate career, the Flames captured the 1997 Big South regular-season title, finishing the year with a 23-9 record.
- The Keydets have won three straight games against the Flames inside Cameron Hall. Liberty's last win inside the facility was on Jan. 2, 2010. Down by as much as 18 with 10:33 to go in the first half, the Flames mustered two 11-0 scoring runs in the second half. Liberty experienced a 34-point turnaround, leading by 16 tallies with 3:21 left en route to the 110-102 victory. Antwan Burrus, was the only current member of the Flames roster who played in the contest, finishing with 14 points and eight bounds as a freshman.
- VMI leads the nation in scoring, averaging 89.8 ppg. Liberty is tops in the Big South in scoring defense, holding opponents to 67.7 ppg. Keydet freshman QJ Peterson leads the conference in scoring with 20.8 ppg. Rodney Glasgow (16.2 ppg) and D.J. Covington (15.9 ppg) are also among the Big South's Top 10 scorers, currently sitting at fifth and seventh, respectively.
- Liberty is still in search of its first true road win, this season. The Flames are 0-7 in road games, but are 2-0 on a neutral court, picking up a pair of wins at the Corpus Christi Challenge (Nov. 29-30). Liberty's first road win last season occurred on Dec. 31, 2012 at Western Carolina.