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MBB Game Day Central: Samford
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The Liberty men's basketball team will hosts its second straight game in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) as they welcome Samford to the Vines Center. The Flames are coming off a first round win over Norfolk State while the Bulldogs are looking for its second win in the CIT after defeating Canisius at home.
• This will be the fourth meeting all-time between Liberty and Samford.
• The schools have not faced each other since Jan. 7, 1991 (Samford won, 62-61).
• A third place in the Big South ties for the highest finish under coach McKay. Liberty finished third in 2008-09.
• Head coach Ritchie McKay is 2-1 all-time at Liberty in postseason tournaments.
• Liberty returns to the postseason for the first time since making the NCAA Tournament during the 2010-11 season.
• Samford finished seventh in the SoCon Conference with an appearance in the SoCon Championship.
• Liberty looks for its first 20-win season since 2008-09 when the Flames went 23-12.
• Ryan Kemrite joined the 800-point club against Longwood as he now sits in 30th place on Liberty's all-time scoring list with 812 career points.
• For the first time in school history, Liberty has won 14 games in the Big South.
• Out of 347 teams, the Flames rank no. 19 in the country in scoring defense (63.1 ppg).
• In conference play, Liberty has had eight games decided by seven points or less. In those games, two of them were against Radford.
• For the third time in school history Liberty avoided back-to-back losses in the Big South.
Liberty vs. Samford (Fifth All-Time Meeting, Samford leads 4-0)
Liberty Head Coach: Ritchie McKay
Overall Record: 236-218 (15th season)
Record at Liberty: 71-60 (Fourth season)
Big South Record: 43-25
Record vs. Samford: 0-0
Samford Head Coach: Scott Padgett
Overall Record: 47-53 (Third Season)
Record at Samford: Same
SoCon Record: 18-36
Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
Notes and Anecdotes – Samford
• In the Big South Preseason Coaches' Poll, Liberty was picked to finish second in the conference, while Samford was picked seventh in the SoCon Conference.
• Samford will be the eighth team Liberty has played this year that has won 20 games.
• Samford has won three of its last four games, making a run in the SoCon Championship.
• Liberty last played in the CIT in 2008-09 when they defeated Rider in the first round and lost to James Madison in the quarterfinals.
• Under Coach McKay the past two seasons, Liberty is 20-4 when they hold its opponents to 62 points or fewer.
• Ritchie McKay coached Scott Padgett with USA Basketball before his senior year at Kentucky in 1997. That year the USA won the Gold medal in Sicily.
Team Talking Points:
• Liberty ranks no. 20 in scoring defense (63.1 ppg) and first in the Big South
• During conference games, Liberty has allowed opponents to a league-best 61.5 points per game
• On road games during conference play, the Flames have averaged 73.3 points per game compared to just 61.2 at home
• In Liberty's five losses at home (VCU, Furman, Princeton, UNC Asheville and Winthrop) each team has sat in first place or has been tied for first place in their conference this season
• Ryan Kemrite moved into a tie for 27th place on Liberty's all-time scoring list with 842 career points
• Liberty currently is second in the Big South and ranks no. 36 in the country, averaging 9.2 three-point field goals per game (302-of-840/36.0 percent)
• Liberty has made 302 three pointers this, which ranks no. 33 in Division I
• Liberty currently ranks no. 131 in the country and seventh in the Big South in three-point field goal percentage (36.0 percent)
• Liberty took its offense on the road, shooting 45.8 percent from the field in conference play but has struggled at home shooting 43.6 percent
• Ritchie McKay picked up his 70th career win at Liberty on Feb. 14 with a win over High Point
• When Liberty has played on the road in Big South games, they have won by an average of 7.9 points
• For the first time this season and the first time since Dec. 3, 2015 at Radford, the Liberty bench was held scoreless after not contributing points against UNC Asheville
• On the season, the Flames currently rank eighth in the Big South and no. 225 in the country (out of 347 teams) in field goal shooting percentage (43.3 percent/733-1683)
• On the season, the Flames are shooting 4.7 percent better during the second half (first half shooting percentage 40.5/308-of-761; second half shooting percentage 45.5/334-of-734)
• The Flames have shot 40 percent or better from three-point range in 15 of their 20 wins
• In its 20 wins this season, Liberty has shot a combined 46.2 percent from the field (448-of-969)
• In its 13 setbacks this year, Liberty has shot a combined 38.7 percent from the floor (254-of-657)
• Liberty is 7-7 on the road this season and has not won a non-conference road game since defeating Western Carolina, 63-62, on Dec. 31, 2012
• Liberty has shot 70 percent or better from the free-throw line 23 times this year and currently ranks third in the Big South in free throw shooting percentage (73.8 percent/429-of-581)
• Liberty has forced 10 or more turnovers in 24 of 33 games this season and ranks third in the Big South in turnovers forced (14.3 per game)