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MBB Game Day Central: Cincinnati Christian

December 27, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Peter Moller

Peter Moller

Game Day Central

The Liberty men's basketball team returns to action on Sunday, playing host to Cincinnati Christian. The Flames lead the all-time series with the Eagles, 3-0, and look to return to the win column after a 65-47 defeat at Princeton. Meanwhile, CCU is on a seven-game win streak in NAIA and NCCAA action. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m., with the contest streaming live on the Big South Network.

Miscellaneous Notes
David Andoh is leading the Flames off the bench, recording a total of 105 points (8.8 ppg) through the first 12 games. The forward has posted double-digit scoring figures in his past four contests, averaging 10.8 ppg during the span.

Liberty has won the rebounding the battle in its last four contests, its longest streak of the year. Prior to the four-game span, the Flames had alternated between outrebounding and giving up more boards to its opponent through the first eight contests.

The Flames 47 points at Princeton mark their lowest point total since recording 46 points in a 64-46 defeat to UC Irvine on Nov. 19, 2012.

Liberty has improved on its free throw shooting in the last two contests, going a combined 27-of-36 from the charity stripe (75.0 percent). Liberty's 16 made free throws at Princeton mark the highest total for the Flames, this season.

Liberty will be without freshmen Ezra Talbert and A.C. Reid in Sunday's contest. Talbert will miss the remainder of the season and will apply for a medical redshirt following back surgery next week. Playing in just five contests this season due to back issues, Talbert recorded five points in Liberty's 94-65 victory over Central Penn.

Reid will receive surgery to repair a broken nose and will not play in Sunday's contest. The guard's timetable is uncertain, pending the outcome of his surgery. Reid averaged 4.6 ppg through the first 12 contests, which included a season-high 12-point performance in his collegiate debut against Randolph College.

Liberty made just one three-point field goal in its game against Princeton, doing so for the first time since Jan. 28, 2012. That day, the Flames went 1-of-7 from three-point land in a 67-65 win over the Highlanders.

Cincinnati Christian has squared off with one other NCAA Division I opponent, this season. CCU played Morehead State on Nov. 17. Morehead State took the contest, 87-79. CCU's Mac Constable concluded the contest with 17 points, followed by Mitch McLeish, who had 16 points.

Series Notes
Liberty is 3-0 all-time versus Cincinnati Christian. In the most recent meeting, the Flames hosted the Eagles six years to the day on Dec. 28, 2008, defeating CCU, 86-55. Seth Curry led Liberty with 21 points, while four other players had double-digit scoring figures – Brolin Floyd (14), Jesse Sanders (10), Tyler Baker (10) and Anthony Smith (10).

Liberty also hosted the Eagles on two other occasions. In the first-ever meeting between the two squads (Nov. 21, 2005), Larry Blair helped guide the Flames to an 88-54 victory with a 23-point performance. Russell Monroe chipped in 15 tallies, while Damien Hubbard finished the contest with a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds).

The following year, the Flames defeated the Eagles inside the Vines Center, 101-65. Once again, Blair paced the Flames offense with 27 points, followed by Anthony Smith, who had 23 tallies. Alex McLean had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Back in the Day
Like Cincinnati Christian, Liberty is no stranger to competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Before moving up the ranks to NCAA Division I play, Liberty joined the NAIA in 1975 as an associate member. The program transitioned to NCAA Division II in 1981, but was still eligible for NAIA postseason play. Prior to receiving its NAIA postseason eligibility, the Flames captured the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Championship in 1980.

Liberty dropped its NAIA affiliation completely in 1984, when it became eligible for NCAA Division II competition. Liberty moved to Division I on Sept. 1, 1988.

During its time in the association, Liberty produced one NAIA All-American, center Steve Issacs, who earned honorable mention honors in 1982 and 1983. Issacs also earned all-district honors from 1981-83. Other Liberty players to earn NAIA all-district honors include Mark Swift (1981), Greg McCauley (1982) and Kenny Gunn (1983). Former Liberty men's head coach Jeff Meyer, who coached the Flames from 1982-97, also earned NAIA All-District Coach of the Year Honors in 1982.

Along with its previous NAIA experience, the Liberty men's basketball program was also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The program originated in the NCCAA, before moving up the collegiate ranks throughout the 1980s.

The Flames captured the NCCAA Division I Championship in 1980, defeating Point Loma College, 68-65, at McGilvary Gym on the campus of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn. Four Flames reached double figures in the contest. Rod Martin led the way with 20 points, followed by Karl Hess (18), Ed Vickers (17) and Roger Webb (10). Vickers also grabbed 17 boards, while Webb dished out 10 assists. Vickers was named to the all-tournament team and Hess was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Liberty produced six All-Americans during its stint in the NCCAA. Karl Hess was a first team member in 1980. Five years prior, Mike Goad earned second-team honors (1975). Three other players also earned honorable mentions: Willard DeShazor (1976), Mark Chaffin (1978) and Ed Vickers.