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Game Day Central: Cairn

November 9, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Cairn

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Liberty vs. Cairn game notes

The Game
The Liberty men's basketball team opens its 2016-17 season on Friday at 8:30 p.m., hosting the Cairn Highlanders at the Vines Center. This will be the 45th season of men's basketball at Liberty. Friday's game will be the second contest in a Vines Center doubleheader, as the Liberty women's basketball team hosts Duke at 6 p.m.

This will be the fourth year in a row that Liberty has opened its men's basketball schedule at home. The average attendance for the last three season openers has been 5,478, and the Flames have won all three contests.        

Matchup Notes
• These two programs, Liberty and Cairn, met under entirely different circumstances in their only previous meeting. Cairn, then known as Philadelphia College of Bible, defeated Lynchburg Baptist College, 86-79, on March 10, 1973 in the NCCAA District II Tournament. That game brought Liberty's first-ever season of men's basketball to a close.
• Liberty is 23-21 all-time in season openers, including 21-5 when its season opener is at home. The Flames have won their season opener each of the last three seasons, their longest streak since winning five straight season openers from 1996-97 through 2000-01.

Quick Notes
• Ritchie McKay was named 2016 Big South Coach of the Year, after leading the Flames to an eight-win improvement in league play over the previous season.
• This year's 15-member squad features 11 players who are in either their first or second year of playing eligibility.
• The Flames were picked to finish second in the 2016-17 Big South Preseason Men's Basketball Poll. It is Liberty's highest preseason position since being predicted to finish second in the 2003-04 preseason poll.
• John Dawson was named to the Big South Preseason Men's Basketball first team, the first Flame on the first team of the preseason all-conference team since Jesse Sanders in 2011.

Series History (Liberty vs. Cairn)
Series Record:
Cairn leads the series, 1-0
Last Meeting: Cairn (Philadelphia Bible) 86, Liberty 79 (Mar. 10, 1973 NCCAA District II)

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Ritchie McKay
Overall Record (Seasons): 217-205 (15th season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): 52-47 (Fourth Season)

Cairn University Head Coach: Jason O'Connell
Overall Record (Seasons): 10-15 (2nd Season)
Record at Cairn (Seasons): Same

Notes and Anecdotes - Cairn
• Cairn, located in Langhorne, Pa. is one of two Colonial States Athletic Conference members on Liberty's 2016-17 schedule, as the Flames will host Clarks Summit on Dec. 16.
• Cairn is counting the game against Liberty as an exhibition, as they will host Penn State Lehigh Valley on Nov. 17 to open their regular-season schedule.
• Cairn went 10-15 last season, including 6-12 in CSAC play. The Highlanders faced Big South opponent Longwood in an exhibition game last year, falling to the Lancers, 90-52.
• Cairn returns 2015-16 CSAC Rookie of the Year Julian Collazo. Gerroid Doughty II scored 19.1 points per game, earning a first-team selection on the 2015-16 All-CSAC Team. The Highlanders' top four leaders in scoring average return from last year's team.