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MBB Game Day Central: BSC Quarterfinals

March 1, 2010  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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Last time Liberty matched up with the Eagles, Carter McMasters ignited the Vines Center crowd with a thunderous dunk.

Last time Liberty matched up with the Eagles, Carter McMasters ignited the Vines Center crowd with a thunderous dunk.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)

Live Video Streaming (Big South Network)

Live Flames Sports Network Radio Broadcast

Live Stats

Winthrop's Men's Basketball Web Page

The Game

The No. 6 seed Flames stop in Rock, Hill, S.C., on Tuesday for the opening round of the 2010 Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship. Liberty takes on No. 3 Winthrop inside the Winthrop Coliseum at 7 p.m. The Eagles took both contests against the Flames this season, winning 65-62 on Jan. 9 and 67-43 on Feb. 4. The Flames are hoping to end two streaks by defeating the Eagles, as the Flames are winless in the Winthrop Coliseum since 2004 and have not won a Big South Championship game outside the Vines Center since 2001.

Recent Results
The Flames returned to the Vines Center on Feb. 16, playing host to third-place Radford. Despite Liberty holding the edge the majority of the first half, Radford countered in the second, edging the Flames 74-69.

Liberty finished out its regular-season home slate against High Point last Saturday. Kyle Ohman went out in style on Senior Night, achieving a career-high 39 points en route to a 76-67 win over the Panthers.

Hoping to stay alive in the fight for the No. 4 seed, Liberty stepped into Kimbel Arena on Thursday to take on conference leading Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers jumped out to an early lead en route to a 71-48 decision, earning their first regular season conference title since 1991.

Liberty closed out the regular season at Charleston Southern this past Saturday, defeating the Buccaneers 74-61. The Flames were led by Evan Gordon and Jesse Sanders, who each tied career-highs in scoring with 24 and 16 tallies, respectively. With the victory, Liberty concluded the regular season with a 15-15 record and a 10-8 posting in conference play

Watch and Listen to the Flames
There will be a radio broadcast which will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Nick Pierce providing the play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on LibertyFlames.com will be available. There will also be a live video stream broadcast via the Big South Network, available on BigSouthSports.com.

Soaring with the Eagles
Winthrop finished out the regular season with a 16-13 record overall and a 12-6 posting in conference play. After going on a seven game win-streak during the season, the Eagles dropped three of its last four.

This past Saturday, Winthrop took on Radford inside the Dedmon Center in a matchup to determine the No. 2 seed in the Big South Championship. Down 52-40 with 9:25 remaining, Radford rallied with a 14-0 run to defeat the Eagles, 54-42. Art Parakhouski became the Highlanders' hero, connecting on a put back layup with one second remaining to grab the No. 2 seed for Radford.

While there is not a dominant scorer within the Winthrop lineup, the Eagles appear to share their team's scoring duties. Reggie Middleton leads the way, averaging 9.6 points per contest, followed by Matt Morgan (9.4 ppg), Mantoris Robinson (8.0 ppg), Charles Corbin (6.4 ppg), Robbie Dreher (6.2 ppg) and Andy Buechert (6.0 ppg). Buechert is also the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 6.7 boards per game.

Liberty-Winthrop Series Notes
Thursday's contest marks the 43rd meeting between Liberty and Winthrop, with the Eagles currently holding a 28-14 series lead over the Flames. The two teams first met during the 1991-92 campaign, Liberty's inaugural Big South season. The first encounter occurred on Jan. 30, 1992, as the Flames defeated the Eagles, 72-58. Both teams met just nine days later on Feb. 8, 1992. Liberty walked away with another victory, besting the Eagles in the Vines Center, 63-52, capping off a six-game conference winning streak. That season, Liberty finished with a 22-7 record overall and a 10-4 record in conference play.

In their first meeting with the Eagles this season (Jan. 9), the Flames nearly escaped Rock Hill, S.C., with a win. Despite Liberty holding a one-point lead in the final minute, the Eagles were able to find nylon with 27 seconds left, when Andre Jones knocked down a trey. The downtown dagger ultimately cemented the contest, as the Eagles successfully defended home court, 65-62.

On Feb. 4, Liberty played host to Winthrop, falling to the Eagles, 67-43. Matt Morgan led the way for the Eagles with 16 points, while Charles Corbin chipped in 15 off the bench. Despite entering the matchup with a free throw percentage of 72.3 percent, the Flames shot a season-low 38.1 percent from the charity stripe.

Layer Versus the Big South
Dale Layer holds a 14-11 record all-time against current Big South opponents. Prior to returning to Liberty, Layer went 2-1 against Gardner-Webb as head coach of the Colorado State Rams. At the time, the Runnin' Bulldogs were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. During his stint at Division II member Queens, Layer garnered a 2-2 record against the Winthrop Eagles.

Layer Versus the Eagles
During Dale Layer's tenure at Queens, the Royals matched up with the Eagles on four occasions. The first meeting took place on Nov. 24, 1990, as the visiting Royals shocked the Eagles in their season opener in Rock Hill, S.C., 72-64.

Winthrop also opened its season at home against Queens during the 1992-93 campaign on Dec. 2, 1992. The Eagles avenged the loss from the previous meeting, besting the Royals, 92-84. The following season, the Royals upset the Eagles once again, earning an 85-77 decision (Dec. 15, 1993).

Layer's last meeting with Winthrop occurred on Dec. 11, 1994. The Eagles managed to even the series with Queens, edging out the Royals, 73-70.

Second Time Around
When Layer served as a Liberty assistant during the 2007-08 season, the Flames went 7-7 in conference play. Liberty posted at least one win over all but one conference opponent. That season, the Winthrop Eagles took both contests against the Flames, 55-48 (Jan. 15, 2008) and 59-50 (Feb. 12, 2008). Liberty managed to sweep one Big South opponent, as the Flames went 2-0 against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, 78-59 (Jan. 21, 2008) and 66-51 (Feb. 16, 2008).

Half Court Rock at Rock Hill
The last time the Flames played at the Winthrop Coliseum on Jan. 9, freshman guard Chris Perez threw up a shot just past the half court line, banking it off the glass as the halftime bell sounded. Perez's half court heave helped the Flames keep the contest close, cutting it to four at the midway point.

The Last Time ...

- Liberty won a contest in the Big South Championship away from the Vines Center was March 1, 2001. On that day, the No. 6 seeded Flames beat No. 3 seed UNC Asheville, 60-48, at the Roanoke Civic Center in the quarterfinals. That year was also the last time the Flames appeared in the tournament as a sixth seed.

- The Flames earned a "W" inside the Winthrop Coliseum was Feb. 18, 2004, as they defeated the Eagles, 74-62. The following month, Liberty captured its second Big South Championship in school history en route to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years.

- Liberty and Winthrop matched up in the Big South Championship was on Feb. 28, 2006, when the Eagles rolled over the Flames in Rock, Hill, S.C., 93-52. The contest also marks the last time Liberty opened the tournament playing outside of the Vines Center.

- The Flames finished the regular season with a 15-15 record was during the 2007-08 campaign. Prior to this season, Liberty had not posted exactly 10 wins in conference play since its inaugural season in the Big South (1991-92).

Success at Six
Head Coach Dale Layer is 2-0 when coaching a No. 6 seed team against a No. 3 in the opening round of a conference tournament. In his final season at Colorado State, the No. 6 Rams defeated San Diego State in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Championship on March 8, 2007, 69-64. Four years earlier, Layer's Rams knocked off Wyoming from the sixth spot on March 13, edging the No. 3 seed, 74-71. Colorado State went on to capture the Mountain West Conference Championship, earning a bid to the 2003 NCAA Championship.

Flames Fast Break
- The last time the Big South Championship was held March 2-6 was in 2004, when the Flames captured the title, defeating Charleston Southern (60-54), Coastal Carolina (88-73) and High Point (89-44).

- In conference contests, Liberty sits atop the Big South in rebounding defense, holding teams to 33.8 boards per contest, holding a slight edge over Coastal Carolina (34.7).

- The Flames sit atop the Big South in free throw percentage with 69.8 percent (451-of-646), holding a small margin over Presbyterian (69.6 percent, 313-of-450) and High Point (69.4 percent, 413-of-595).

- Jesse Sanders is the only Flame to start all 30 contests during the regular season.

- Jeremy Anderson has hit at least one three-point field goal in his last 14 games this season.

- This season marks the third time Liberty has finished sixth in the conference standings. Liberty is 1-1 when playing as a sixth seed, with the previous meetings occurring against UNC Asheville (Feb. 25, 1999, L/98-106 and March 1, 2001, W/ 60-48).

- Kyle Ohman is 36 points shy of surpassing Evan Gordon's father, Eric Gordon, for the 16th spot on Liberty's all-time scoring list.