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Game Day Central: Winthrop

January 31, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Winthrop

Game Day Central
Liberty Game Notes

Matchup Notes
- During its current four-game win streak, Liberty is shooting 47.2 percent overall (91-of-193) and 43.0 percent from three-point land (43-of-100). The Flames are also making nearly 11 three-pointers per game (10.8). Defensively, Liberty is holding opponents to 59.0 ppg. John Dawson leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg), rebounding (6.5) and assists (4.3 apg) during the span. Caleb Homesley is averaging 10.5 ppg in the stretch.

- Liberty is first in the Big South in scoring defense on the year, holding teams to 66.0 ppg. In conference games, the Flames are also first in the league, holding their opponents to 62.5 ppg.

- Tuesday's contest will present a stiff test for Liberty's pack-line, as Winthrop boasts two of the top five scorers in the Big South in Keon Johnson (19.8 ppg- third) and Jimmy Gavin (17.3 ppg – fifth). Xavier Cooks also sits at No. 12 in the league at 13.5 ppg.

- Despite being 11th in the league in rebounding, the Flames are first in rebounding defense, holding teams to 32.0 boards per game.

- Five of Liberty's six conference wins have been decided by four points or less. Four of Liberty's five Big South losses have been decided by seven points or less.

- Winthrop is the only Big South team to defeat Liberty by double-digit scoring figures this season, besting the Flames by a margin of 16 (74-58) on Jan. 16.

- Liberty's four-game win streak is its first since the 2012-13 season. The Flames won five straight contests beginning with its regular-season finale at Radford (73-56, March 1, 2013). Liberty then earned victories over Coastal Carolina (78-61), High Point (61-60), Gardner-Webb (65-62) and Charleston Southern (87-76) to capture the 2013 Big South Championship inside The HTC Center (March 5-10).

Series History
Series Record:
Winthrop leads, 38-15
Current Streak: Winthrop is on a nine-game win streak
Liberty Series Record at Vines Center: 11-13
First Meeting: Winthrop 72, Liberty 58 (Jan. 30, 1992 - Winthrop Coliseum)
Last Meeting: Winthrop 74, Liberty 48 (Jan. 16, 2016 - Winthrop Coliseum)
Last Liberty Victory: Liberty 75, Winthrop 72 (Dec. 4, 2010 - Vines Center)

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Ritchie McKay
Overall Record (Seasons): 213-201 (14th season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): 48-43 (Third season)
Record vs. Winthrop: 1-4

Winthrop Head Coach: Pat Kelsey
Overall Record (Seasons): 69-49 (Third Season)
Record at Winthrop (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Liberty: 5-0

Notes and Anecdotes
- Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey's coaching career includes an eight-year stint as an assistant at Wake Forest under the late Skip Prosser and then Dino Gaudio. Redshirt senior guard Anthony Fields is also familiar with Wake Forest, having played his freshman season there under Jeff Bzdelik (2011-12). Fields appeared in 24 contests as a member of the Demon Deacons.

- During his redshirt year at Bradley, current Liberty redshirt senior guard Anthony Fields was teammates with current Winthrop graduate senior guard Jimmy Gavin. A sophomore with the Braves that season, Gavin appeared in 10 contests, recording a total of 13 points in 28 minutes of action. Gavin is currently second on the Eagles and fifth in the Big South in scoring, averaging 17.3 ppg.

- Winthrop owns a winning record against the Flames inside the Vines Center (13-11). The Eagles have taken the last three meetings in the facility. Liberty has not defeated Winthrop in the Vines Center since edging the Eagles, 75-72, on Dec. 4, 2010. The victory also marks the Flames' most recent win over Winthrop.

- In conference games, John Dawson is eighth in scoring, averaging 15.2 ppg. The redshirt sophomore is also first in defensive rebounds in Big South games, pulling down nearly six per contest.

News and Notes vs. Presbyterian
- The Liberty men's basketball team picked up its fourth straight win, Saturday night, defeating Presbyterian, 65-61, inside the Templeton Center. Led by a career-high 19-point effort from John Dawson, the Flames defense held the Blue Hose in check in the closing minutes for their second consecutive win away from the Vines Center.

- With its first win at PC in nearly four years (Feb. 11, 2012, 77-64), the Flames improve dto 9-15 overall and 6-5 in Big South play. The Blue Hose fell to 8-13 on the year and 3-7 in conference action. Liberty now has back-to-back road wins for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when it defeated Radford inside the Dedmon Center, 73-56 (March 2, 2013), and Coastal Carolina in the HTC Center during the opening round of the 2013 Big South Championship, 78-61, four days later.

- Along with Dawson's effort, freshman guard Caleb Homesley chipped in 15 points for the Flames, followed by Evan Maxwell, who added 10 points for the second straight game.

- DeSean Murray entered the contest leading conference in scoring (20.1 ppg), and the 6-5 sophomore forward lived up to the billing, finishing with a game-high 23 points. Murray was the only double-digit scorer on the night for the Blue Hose.

-The two squads nearly matched each other from the field, with the Flames (45.5 percent, 20-of-44) holding a slight edge over PC (44.4 percent, 20-of-45). However, Liberty was more efficient from the three-point arc, outscoring the Blue Hose, 33-18.