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Game Day Central: Houston

December 20, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Houston

Game Day Central page

Liberty vs. Houston game notes

Game Time:
8 p.m.

TV Coverage:
ESPN3/ASN
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Brett Dolan
Color Commentator: Chris Walker

Radio Coverage:
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
WPLY 98.5/105.9 FM (Lynchburg)
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York

The Game
Liberty (5-7) will conclude its road trip in the state of Texas with a matchup against Houston who has won six of its last regular season contests at home. Currently, the Cougars are on a two game winning streak and are coming off a dominating performance at home against UT Rio Grande Valley (W/ 83-58). This will be the final contest the Flames will compete in before heading into Big South Conference play, beginning on Dec. 29 on the road against Presbyterian.

Matchup Notes
• This will be the first meeting between Liberty and Houston in school history.
• The game will mark the first time the Cougars have faced an opponent from the Big South Conference, since Nov. 11, 2008 when they defeated Presbyterian76-57 in Durham, N.C. in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
• This will be the third time Liberty has faced an opponent from the current American Athletic Conference. In the past, the Flames took on East Carolina, SMU, USF and Navy but they were not members of the AAC. In the 2010-11 season, Liberty suffered a 60-43 loss to USF and in 2014-15 Liberty was defeated by Tulane, 72-51.

Quick Notes
• Liberty's 65 points scored against Lamar on Monday was the fewest amount of points the Flames have scored in its last three contests
• The Texas trio of Lovell Cabbil, Ryan Kemrite and A.C. Reid combined to score 41 of Liberty's 65 points against Lamar as they returned to their home state
• A.C. Reid recorded season-highs in points scored (15), field goals made (5) and three-pointers made (5) in 21 minutes against Lamar
• Lovell Cabbil scored 11 points, a new season-high for the sophomore and tied his season's best of three field goals made while also going a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line
• 2016 Big South Coach of the Year Ritchie McKay is in his fourth year as head coach at Liberty, having compiled a 57-54 record

Series History
Liberty vs. Houston Series History:
First Meeting

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Ritchie McKay
Overall Record:  222-212 (15th season)
Record at Liberty: 57-54 (Fourth season)
Record vs. Houston: 0-0

Houston Head Coach: Kelvin Sampson
Overall Record: 543-301 (28th season)
Record at Lamar: 43-31 (Third season)
Record vs. Liberty: 0-0

Notes and Anecdotes – Houston
• The Cougars rank first in the American Athletic Conference in turnover margin (+4.1) and 27th in the country
• After Lamar shot 60.0% from 3-point range on Monday night, Houston comes into the game with the highest 3-point percentage in the AAC, shooting 43.5 percent for the season, which is also fourth best in Division I this season
• Liberty will be looking to capture its first non-conference win on the road since Dec. 31, 2012 when they defeated Western Carolina 63-62. The Flames did defeat Sam Houston State and 62-58 on Nov. 30, 2013 but it was at a neutral site at the Corpus Christi Challenge in Texas

Team Talking Points:
• The Flames are 0-4 on the road this season, having lost by an average of 18 points a game. The closest game on the road this season came at UNCG when the Flames lost by a score of 72-65
• Liberty is now 4-3 at home this season with its three setbacks coming by a combined 11 points or an average of 3.67 points per game (VCU L/59-64; Furman L/58-61; Princeton L/64-67)
• The Flames have suffered six setbacks this year with a combined record of 48-27 record (VCU 8-3/S.O.S - #15; Indiana 9-2/S.O.S - #230; William & Mary 5-4/S.O.S - #227; UNCG 9-3/S.O.S. - #228; Furman 7-5/S.O.S. - #332; Princeton 4-5/S.O.S. - #153; Lamar 6-5/S.O.S. - #344 )
• Liberty's wins over UMass Lowell and Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 21 and 23) marked the first time the Flames have defeated NCAA Division I non-conference opponents in consecutive games since November 2013
• The Flames continued their trend this season of improved shooting during the second half of the game against Lamar (first half – 37.0 percent/10-of-27; second half – 55.0 percent/11-of-20)
• On the season, the Flames are shooting 11.5 percent better during the second half (first half shooting percentage 36.4/105-of-288; second half shooting percentage 48.3/134-of-277)
• On the season, the Flames currently rank ninth in the Big South and No. 222 in the country (out of 347 teams) in field goal shooting percentage (43.3 percent/270-of-623)
• In its five wins this season, Liberty has shot a combined 47.4 percent from the field (129-of-272)
• In its seven setbacks this year, Liberty has shot a combined 40.2 percent from the floor (141-of-351)
• The Flames have shot better than 40 percent from three-point range in four of their five wins (41.4 percent vs. Carin; 43.8 percent vs. UMass Lowell; 53.8 percent vs. Mississippi Valley State; 19.2 percent vs. Central Penn)
• Liberty currently leads the Big South and ranks No. 46 in the country, averaging 9.17 three-point field goals per game (110-of-304/36.2 percent)
• Last year, Liberty finished 12 out of 32 games connecting on 10 or more three-pointers
• The Flames finished the Lamar game shooting 60.9 percent from the free throw line (14-23), marking the sixth time in 11 games the Flames have failed to shoot 70 percent or higher 
• Liberty has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line five times this year and currently ranks seventh in the Big South in free throw shooting percentage (68.0 percent/157-of-231)
• The Flames were outrebounded by Lamar 31-25 and was narrowly outscored in the paint, 27-24
• Liberty is currently seventh in the Big South and ranks No. 305 out of 347 NCAA Division I schools in rebounding margin (-3.7 rpg)
• Liberty currently leads the Big South in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 64.8 points per game
• Princeton became the first team this season to finish a game against Liberty with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (21 assists to seven turnovers)
• Liberty has forced 10 or more turnovers in 10 of 12 games this season and ranks third in the Big South in turnovers forced (15.9 per game)
• Flames Head Coach Ritchie McKay continues to utilize his bench well this year, averaging 11.92 players played per game (14 vs. Indiana; 13 vs. Cairn, Mississippi Valley State and Lamar; 12 vs. UMass Lowell, UNCG and Princeton; 11 vs. VCU, William & Mary, Central Penn and Furman; 10 vs. UNCG)