Flames forward Antwan Burrus
Legends Classic Tournament Bracket While the entire 2012-13 Liberty men's basketball schedule is not yet official, the Flames are set to square off with a national powerhouse in their upcoming campaign. Dale Layer's squad is slated to participate in the 2012 Legends Classic, taking on BIG EAST member Georgetown, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. inside the Verizon Center. The matchup is part of the tournament's Washington Regional. From the nation's capital, the Flames will head to Huntsville, Texas to compete in the Huntsville Subregional, hosted by Sam Houston State inside Johnson Coliseum. Liberty will open subregional play on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. versus UC Irvine, before facing the hosting Bearkats the following day. The matchup between the Flames and Sam Houston State will follow a 6 p.m. clash with UC Irvine and Southern Miss. Liberty's concludes its participation in the tournament against Southern Miss on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. Other teams competing in the Legends Classic include Indiana, UCLA, Georgia, UC Irvine, Duquesne, James Madison, North Dakota State and Youngstown State. Layer enters his fourth season at the helm of Liberty's men's basketball program. Last season, the Flames bounced back from a rough start to win nine of its last 12 Big South matchups, concluding the year with a 14-18 record. Liberty welcomes back three starters who each posted double-digit scoring figures – junior guard John Caleb Sanders (11.6 ppg), senior forward Antwan Burrus (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and senior guard Tavares Speaks (10.2 ppg). The Flames roster will no doubt have a new look to it with the addition of six signees – Davon Marshall, JR Coronado, Emmanuel Andrews, Chad Donley, Larry Taylor and Wes Alcegaire. Other key returnees include forwards Tomasz Gielo and Sommy Ogukwe and center Joel Vander Pol. ESPN Networks will televise six games of the Legends Classic, including all four Championship Round games in Brooklyn. The Indiana-Georgia semifinal game will air on ESPNU on Nov. 19, followed by the UCLA-Georgetown game on ESPN2. The consolation game on Nov. 20 will be shown on ESPNU with the championship game airing on ESPN. In addition, the Nov. 11 game between Duquesne and Georgetown will be shown on ESPNU, as will the Nov. 12 Youngstown State-Georgia contest. Additional television coverage will be announced at a later date. To view the entire Legends Classic tournament bracket, visit the link above.
About Liberty's Legends Classic Opponents Georgetown Hoyas - Head Coach: John Thompson III (Big East Conference) Has been to 28 NCAA Tournaments, winning one National Championship...ended the 2011-12 season with a 24-9 record in advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament...was ranked 17th by ESPN/USA Today and 15th by the Associated Press in 2011-12...expected to return nine players from last year's team, including two starters - junior guard Markel Starks (6.7 ppg), and junior forward Nate Lubick (3.5 ppg), along with sophomore forward Otto Porter (9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg)...the Hoyas have won 20 or more games six of the last seven years under head coach John Thompson III.
UC Irvine Anteaters - Head Coach: Russell Turner (Big West Conference) After a season as one of the youngest teams in the nation, UC Irvine returns five starters from a squad that went 12-20 in 2011-12...third-year head coach Russell Turner will rely on the trio of senior forward Michael Wilder (11.5 ppg), senior guard Damon Starring (11.4 ppg, 100 assists), and junior guard Chris McNealy (10.2 ppg) to lead the Anteaters into the postseason for the first time since 2001-02.
Sam Houston State Bearkats - Head Coach: Jason Hooten (Southland Conference) Third-year head coach Jason Hooten welcomes back two of his top five scorers from a year ago...junior guard DeMarcus Gatlin is Sam Houston State's leading returning scorer after netting 10.4 ppg last season...he is joined by senior backcourt mate Darius Gatson, who handed out a team-high 143 assists while also scoring at a 6.7 ppg clip...eight newcomers dot a roster that includes no one with more than one letter earned as a Bearkat.
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles - Head Coach: Donnie Tyndall (Conference USA) Donnie Tyndall takes over at Southern Miss after leading Morehead State to 114 wins and three straight 20-win seasons in his six years...Tyndall inherits a team that went 25-9 last season and earned its first NCAA bid in 21 years...two starters are back, as is leading scorer Neil Watson, who netted 12.3 ppg as a sophomore...seniors Jonathan Mills (9.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Rashard McGill (2.6 ppg) started for the Golden Eagles in 2011-12.
About the Legends Classic In the first five years of its existence, the Legends Classic has featured seven teams that went on to advance to at least the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, including NC State this past season. Additionally, Texas (2008) and Pittsburgh (2009) advanced to the Elite Eight and Michigan State (2010) played in the Final Four. At last season's Legends Classic, then-No. 18 Vanderbilt captured a 64-62 championship win over Oregon State behind the 14-point effort of tournament MVP John Jenkins. The Legends Classic is produced by the Gazelle Group in Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the 2K Sports Classic, the Gotham Classic, the CBI presented by Zebra Pen, and the All-American Championship. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit www.gazellegroup.com.
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