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MBB Game Day Central: No. 6 Seed UNC Asheville

March 3, 2015  Conway, S.C.  RSS
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David Andoh

David Andoh

Game Day Central
Liberty Game Notes

The Game
After finishing as the No. 11 seed in Big South Conference play, the Liberty men's basketball team will square off with No. 6 seed UNC Asheville in the opening round of the 2015 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Championship.

The contest will take place on Wednesday inside Coastal Carolina's arena, The HTC Center, in Conway, S.C. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Big South Network. The winner will meet overall No. 3 seed and tournament host Coastal Carolina in the quarterfinals, Friday at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.

News and Notes
- Theo Johnson was named Big South Player of the Week for games played Feb. 23-28. Johnson closed out the week averaging 22 points in two games. The guard/forward went 10-of-20 (50.0 percent) from the field and 24-of-31 (77.4 percent) at the foul line during the span. Johnson is leading the Flames' offense in the absence of Tomasz Gielo, averaging 10.0 ppg on the season and 19.0 ppg in the last four games.

- Andrew Smith continues to climb the Liberty record books. The senior is currently 38th on the program's all-time scoring list with 714 points and 13th in rebounding with 549 boards. Teammate Tomasz Gielo, who will apply for a medical redshirt, is currently one spot ahead of Smith with 724 career tallies.

- In the two games against the Bulldogs, this season, Theo Johnson led the Flames, averaging 14.0 ppg. Ryan Kemrite followed closely behind with 11.5 ppg, which includes a career-high tying 14-point performance on Saturday.

- The Flames and Bulldogs have met seven times in the Big South Championship, with Asheville holding a 4-3 advantage in postseason play. The last meeting between the two squads took place inside Asheville's former arena, the Justice Center, resulting in a 75-57 win for the Bulldogs (March 6, 2008).

- Liberty and Asheville met in the Big South Championship four straight years (1998-2001). The Bulldogs won three of those meetings, but the Flames took the final one, eliminating Asheville from the 2001 Big South Championship, 60-48 (March 1, 2001). Liberty fell to Winthrop the following day in double overtime in the semifinals, 67-62.

- The Flames are looking to snap a six-game losing skid to UNC Asheville. Liberty's last

win against the Bulldogs was on Jan. 27, 2011. On that day, the Flames' John Brown connected on a buzzer-beating layup to defeat UNC Asheville, 83-81, in overtime.

- Asheville (14-15, 10-8 Big South) took both meetings against Liberty (8-23, 2-16 Big South) during the regular season, including this Saturday's contest (95-77). The Bulldogs also defeated the Flames inside Kimmel Arena on Jan. 8, 71-54.

- In its 18 conference games, Liberty is averaging 63.1 ppg and allowing 74.4 ppg. The Flames are shooting 41.7 percent compared to 44.3 percent for their opponents. Liberty is grabbing 33.6 boards per game, while opponents are averaging 34.4. The Flames are committing 15.6 turnovers in conference play and forcing 11.2 per game.

- In games played away from the Vines Center, Liberty is averaging 59.3 ppg compared to 72.7 ppg for its opponents. The Flames are shooting 40.6 percent, while opponents are shooting 43.6 percent. Liberty is also committing 17.3 turnovers, and forcing 12.2 per game.

- A Liberty loss on Wednesday would mark the second time in program history that the Flames have failed to win a road or neutral site game. The last time the Flames did so was during the 1998-99 campaign, as Liberty went 4-23 on the year.

- Joe Retic suffered a fractured left foot during Liberty's matchup with Asheville on Jan. 8. After missing 12 games, Retic has averaged 4.3 ppg in the three games since returning.