Game Day Central Liberty Game Notes
The Game Looking to rebound from a narrow defeat at the hands of Radford Thursday, the Liberty men's basketball team returns to the Vines Center on Saturday, playing host to Presbyterian. The Flames are hoping to get back into the win column after seeing their seven-game win streak come to an end. Meanwhile, the Blue Hose are trying to snap an eight-game skid, which includes a 65-61 defeat to the Flames on Jan. 30 inside the Templeton Center. Saturday's contest is part of a doubleheader, with the Lady Flames hosting Coastal Carolina at 4 p.m. Tipoff between Liberty and PC is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest broadcasting live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, ESPN3, MASN and the Big South Network.
Matchup Notes - In his three games against the Flames, Presbyterian sophomore forward DeSean Murray has averaged 20.0 points and nine rebounds per game. During the most recent meeting on Jan. 30, Murray finished with 23 points and seven boards. Last year in the Vines Center (Jan. 3, 2015), the forward returned to the court after missing 12 games due to injury and dropped 16 points and 11 rebounds en route to a 62-58 PC victory. He also had a 21-point, nine rebound performance versus the Flames in the Templeton Center, last season (Feb. 6, 2015). Murray enters Saturday's game third in the Big South in scoring (19.5 ppg).
- With 42 steals on the year, Lovell Cabbil is climbing closer to etching his name on the program's freshman steals list. Ed Gomes (1974) and Liberty Hall of Famer Mark Chafin (1975) hold the record with 59, followed by Larry Blair with 53. Three other players each had 48 steals in their freshman year – Seth Curry (2009), Kenny Gunn (1982) and Mickey Baker (1974).
- In Big South contests, John Dawson is 10th in scoring, averaging 14.9 ppg. The redshirt sophomore guard is coming off his best scoring performance of the season, finishing with a career-high 22 points on Thursday.
- Liberty is averaging 13.2 assists on the year (third in the Big South), but in the last eight games, the Flames are averaging 15 helpers. In Big South games, Liberty is second with just under 13 assists a game.
Series History Series Record: Series tied, 8-8 Current Streak: Liberty won the most recent meeting Liberty Series Record at Vines Center: 5-2 Last Meeting: Liberty 65, Presbyterian 61 (Jan. 30, 2016 – Templeton Center) First Meeting: Presbyterian 74, Liberty 60 (Nov. 20, 1978) Last Meeting in the Vines Center: Presbyterian 62, Liberty 58 (Jan. 3, 2015)
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Ritchie McKay Overall Record (Seasons): 216-202 (14th season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): 51-44 (Third season) Record vs. Presbyterian: 3-1
Presbyterian College Head Coach: Gregg Nibert Overall Record (Seasons): 408-397 (27th season) Record at PC (Seasons): Same Record vs. Liberty: 6-7
Notes and Anecdotes - In Liberty's nine Big South wins, the Flames are averaging 68.0 ppg, while holding teams to 63.3 ppg (+4.7). Conversely, Liberty has averaged 61.7 ppg in its conference losses, compared to 67.8 ppg for its opponents (-6.2). In terms of rebounding defense, the Flames are allowing nearly four less boards per game in Big South wins (30.1 rpg). Liberty is sharing the ball better in its wins, averaging 14.1 helpers per game versus 11 in defeats. The Flames are hitting nearly 11 three-pointers per contest in league victories, while they have knocked down a little less than eight per game in losses.
- The Flames and the Blue Hose met twice during the 1978-79 season, resulting in a pair of wins for Presbyterian. PC defeated Liberty at Jefferson Forest High School, 74-60 (Nov. 20, 1978), before besting the Flames in overtime, 95-91 (Jan. 5, 1979), in the New Year's Classic at Presbyterian. At the time Liberty was a NAIA institution and a member of the NCCAA. The two squads did not meet again until Ritchie McKay's first year with the Flames (2007-08). Liberty won the contest inside the Vines Center, 69-47 Dec. 4, 2007). The following season, Presbyterian became a member of the Big South Conference.
- In conference games, John Dawson is first in the league in defensive rebounds, pulling down nearly six per contest.
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