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MBB Game Day Central: Challenge in Music City

November 24, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central
Liberty Game Notes

The Games
Off to a 3-1 start, the Liberty men's basketball team heads to Nashville, Tenn., for the American Sports Network (ASN) Challenge in Music City. The Flames will play three games inside the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, beginning with Appalachian State on Thursday. The contest will broadcast live on ASN at 3 p.m. (EST). Following its Thanksgiving Day clash with the Mountaineers, Liberty will square off with Western Michigan on Friday (3:30 EST) before closing out the tournament against Tulane on Sunday (2 p.m. EST, ASN).

Matchup Notes
- Appalachian State leads the all-time series against the Flames with a 4-1 record. Liberty's lone win occurred on Nov. 30, 2000. The Flames defeated the Mountaineers inside the Vines Center, 68-52.

- Thursday's matchup marks the first meeting between the Flames and Mountaineers in nearly 14 years. The two squads last met on Dec. 1, 2001, resulting in a 95-77 win for Appalachian State in Boone, N.C.

- Liberty's first meeting against Appalachian State took place on Jan. 28, 1987, during the Flames' tenure as an NCAA Division II member. The Mountaineers won the contest, 74-60.

- Thursday's contest is the first neutral site meeting between the two teams.

Look Back at Saturday vs. Central Penn
- Guided by a career-high 21 points and 13 rebounds from sophomore center Evan Maxwell, the Liberty men's basketball team returned to the win column, Saturday afternoon, defeating Central Penn inside the Vines Center, 86-50.

- Along with Maxwell, sophomore forward A.C. Reid chipped in a career-high 16 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers on the afternoon. Freshman guard Lovell Cabbil rounded out Liberty's double-digit scorers with 11 points, while redshirt freshman forward Ezra Talbert had a near double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

- Despite Central Penn entering the contest averaging 100.4 ppg through its first eight games, the Flames defense stifled the Knights, holding the visitors to half their average. Liberty shot 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the field, compared to 27.9 percent (17-of-61) for Central Penn.

- Liberty had its highest rebound total of the season, outrebounding the Knights, 49-32. The Flames also distributed the ball well, tying its season-high in assists with 22. McKay's squad capitalized in the paint (42-20) and off turnovers (19-7), while receiving a season-best 35 points from the bench.

Notes and Anecdotes
- Appalachian State assistant coach Jason Allison is no stranger to Liberty, as he played for the Flames for three seasons (1996-1998). Allison began his coaching career at Lynchburg Christian Academy, a private school that like Liberty, was also founded by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell. Since Allison's time coaching at LCA, the school has been renamed Liberty Christian Academy and is now located adjacent to Liberty University's campus.

- In addition to his time at Liberty, Allison spent nine seasons at VMI as an assistant coach. During his tenure, the Keydets were a member of the Big South Conference, competing against Liberty. While at VMI, Allison and the Keydets had a 10-11 record against the Flames. In Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay's first stint with the Flames, the two squads met a total of six times in the two seasons, with each team winning three contests during the span.

- Appalachian State assistant Mantoris Robinson is also familiar with the Flames, having competed against them for four seasons as a standout guard at Winthrop (2006-10). Robinson and the Eagles went 8-1 versus Liberty during his time in Rock Hill, S.C. Liberty's lone win in the span occurred on Feb. 7, 2009, when a Flames squad coached by Ritchie McKay defeated the Eagles inside the Vines Center, 57-47.

- As an assistant at Davidson, current Appalachian State head coach Jim Fox had the opportunity to mentor two-time All-American and 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry. Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay also has ties to the Curry family, having coached Stephen's younger brother Seth at Liberty during the 2008-09 season. Seth finished the year averaging 20.2 points per game and was named 2009 Big South Freshman of the Year.

- Ritchie McKay is 1-0 all-time against Appalachian State. While coaching at Oregon State, the Beavers met the Mountaineers in the Big Island Invitational (Hilo, Hawaii) on Nov. 24, 2000. McKay's squad bested Appalachian State, 60-37.