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Game Day Central: Presbyterian

December 28, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Presbyterian

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Liberty vs. Presbyterian game notes

Game Time:
7 p.m.

Official Tipoff:
7:05 p.m.

TV Coverage:
Big South Network
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Eric Thacker
Color Commentator: TBA

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

The Game
All eyes are set on conference play as Liberty will hit the road to tip off play within the Big South Conference with a matchup against Presbyterian College. The Flames will be looking for their first win on the road this season and its first since Feb. 13, 2016 at Longwood (69-68).

Matchup Notes
• This will be the 18th meeting between Liberty and Presbyterian College in school history.
• Last year the two schools split the series, with each team picking up a win on the road. On Jan. 30, 2016 the Flames defeated Blue Hose 65-61 behind a team-high 19 points from John Dawson. Presbyterian returned the favor on Feb. 20, 2016 with a 79-73 win at the Vines Center.
• The Flames have not swept the season series against the Blue Hose since the 2009-10 season.
• Head coach Ritchie McKay is 1-1 all-time at the Ross E. Templeton P.E. Center. On Jan. 5, 2009 the Flames suffered a 67-66 loss in double overtime on the road at PC and when McKay returned to Liberty last year the Flames came away with a 65-61 win on the road.

Quick Notes
• Liberty ended non-conference play with the best scoring defense in the Big South, allowing 65.8 points per game, two points better than second-place Gardner-Webb (67.8).
• Two of the Big South's top scorers will battle in South Carolina as Liberty's Ryan Kemrite averages 13.5 points per game, ranking 11th in the conference, while Blue Hose's freshman Jo'Vontae Millner ranks No. 18 with 12.1 points per game. 
• Presbyterian College is a perfect 4-0 at home this year, winning by an average of 24.5 points.
• In the Big South Preseason Coaches Poll, Liberty was picked to finish second in the conference, while PC was slotted at No. 10.
• 2016 Big South Coach of the Year Ritchie McKay is in his fourth year as head coach at Liberty.

Series History
Liberty vs. Presbyterian Series History:
Presbyterian leads, 9-8

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Ritchie McKay
Overall Record:  222-213 (15th season)
Record at Liberty: 57-55 (Fourth season)

Presbyterian Head Coach: Gregg Nibert
Overall Record: 415-406 (28th season)
Record at PC: Same

Notes and Anecdotes – Presbyterian
• The Flames and Blue Hose have not played in an overtime game since Jan. 5, 2009 when PC won in double overtime 67-66 at home.
• Liberty was picked to finish second in the Big South Preseason Coaches Poll while PC was picked to finish tenth.
• At the end of the non-conference schedule, Liberty finished in seventh while Presbyterian was tied with Charleston Southern in eighth place.
• The Flames and the Blue Hose had three similar opponents during their non-conference schedules in Furman, UNCG and William & Mary. The Flames went 0-3 against the three teams while Presbyterian went 1-2 with a 73-71 win at home in its season opener over Furman.

Team Talking Points:
• The Flames are 0-5 on the road this season, having lost by an average of 19 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 5-3 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)
• Liberty finished its non-conference schedule with an 0-5 road record and still looking for its first  non-conference road game win since defeating Western Carolina, 63-62, on Dec. 31, 2012
• 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
• On the season, the Flames are shooting 9.6 percent better during the second half (first half shooting percentage 38.4/129-of-336; second half shooting percentage 48.0/159-of-331)
• On the season, the Flames currently rank ninth in the Big South and No. 224 in the country (out of 347 teams) in field goal shooting percentage (43.2 percent/288-of-667)
• In its five wins this season, Liberty has shot a combined 47.4 percent from the field (129-of-272)
• In its eight setbacks this year, Liberty has shot a combined 40.3 percent from the floor (159-of-395)
• 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. 44 in the country, averaging 9.30 three-point field goals per game (121-of-327/37.0 percent)
• Liberty finished the Houston game hitting 11-of-23 three-point field goal attempts (47.8 percent), marking the fifth time this year the Flames have hit 10 or more three-pointers in a game
• 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 13 games the Flames have failed to shoot 70 percent or higher 
• During the Houston contest, the two teams connected on a combined 15-of-16 attempts from the line (Liberty 7-of-8; Houston 8-of-8)
• Liberty has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line seven times this year and currently ranks fifth in the Big South in free throw shooting percentage (68.6 percent/164-of-239)
• In the Flames final two non-conference games against Lamar and Houston, the team was outrebounded 62-47.
• Liberty is currently seventh in the Big South and ranks No. 306 out of 347 NCAA Division I schools in rebounding
margin (-4.2 rpg)
• Liberty currently leads the Big South in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 65.8 points per game
• Eight out of Liberty's first nine opponents finished the season with a negative assist-to-turnover ratio
• Three out of Liberty's last four opponents have finished with a positive assist-to-turnover ration in the last four games (Princeton 21 A/7 TO; Lamar 19 A/12 TO; Houston 14 A/7 TO)
• Liberty has forced 10 or more turnovers in nine of 13 games this season and ranks second in the Big South in turnovers forced (14.4 per game)
• Flames Head Coach Ritchie McKay continues to utilize his bench well this year, averaging 11.84 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, Furman and Houston; 10 vs. UNCG)