Game Day Central Liberty Game Notes
The Game The Liberty men's basketball team returns to action on Thursday, squaring off with UNC Asheville in Asheville, N.C. The Bulldogs enter the contest second in the conference standings with an 11-5 Big South record. Meanwhile, the Flames sit in sixth place after back-to-back losses to Radford and Presbyterian. UNC Asheville took the first meeting between the Flames, this season, earning a 76-69 victory inside the Vines Center. The win extended Asheville's win streak versus Liberty to eight games. The Flames will look to pick up their first win versus the Bulldogs in over five years when they step into Kimmel Arena, where they are 0-3 against Asheville. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest streaming live on the Big South Network.
Matchup Notes - Since the completion of Kimmel Arena, Liberty has yet to earn a win in the facility. The Flames are 0-3 against the Bulldogs in the facility, but also dropped an 88-74 decision to Charleston Southern in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big South Championship (Feb. 29, 2012). Liberty's last win in Asheville, N.C. occurred on Jan. 2, 2011, when the Flames defeated the Bulldogs in the Justice Center, 59-55.
- With 43 steals on the year, Lovell Cabbil is climbing closer to etching his name on the program's freshman steals list. Ed Gomes (1974) and Liberty Hall of Famer Mark Chafin (1975) hold the record with 59, followed by Larry Blair with 53. Three other players each had 48 steals in their freshman year – Seth Curry (2009), Kenny Gunn (1982) and Mickey Baker (1974).
- In Big South contests, John Dawson is 12th in scoring, averaging 14.1 ppg. The redshirt sophomore guard is also first in defensive rebounds in conference games, averaging 5.8 per game.
- In the last five games, A.C. Reid is pacing the Flames' offense off the bench, averaging 15.2 ppg.
- Liberty closed out Saturday's contest with 20 assists, marking the third highest total this season. John Dawson accounted for nearly half of the Flames' helpers, dishing out a career-high eight dimes.
Series History Series Record: UNC Asheville leads, 35-20 Current Streak: UNC Asheville is on a eight-game winning streak Liberty's Record inside Kimmel Arena: 0-3 Last Meeting: UNC Asheville 76, Liberty 69 (Jan. 2, 2016 - Vines Center) Last Liberty Victory: Liberty 83, UNC Asheville 81 (OT) (Jan. 27, 2011 – Vines Center)
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Ritchie McKay Overall Record (Seasons): 216-203 (14th season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): 51-45 (Third season) Record vs. UNC Asheville: 2-4 UNC Asheville Head Coach: Nick McDevitt Overall Record (Seasons): 50-41 (Third Season) Record at UNC Asheville (Seasons): Same Record vs. Liberty: 5-0
Notes and Anecdotes - In Liberty's nine Big South wins, the Flames are averaging 68.0 ppg, while holding teams to 63.3 ppg (+4.7). Conversely, Liberty has averaged 63.3 ppg in its conference losses, compared to 69.4 ppg for its opponents (-6.1). In terms of rebounding defense, the Flames are allowing nearly four less boards per game in Big South wins (30.1 rpg). Liberty is sharing the ball better in its wins, averaging 14.1 helpers per game versus 12.3 in defeats. The Flames are hitting nearly 11 three-pointers per contest in league victories, while they have knocked down 8.6 per game in losses.
- The Flames are looking to snap a seven-game losing skid to UNC Asheville. Liberty's last win against the Bulldogs was on Jan. 27, 2011. On that day, the Flames' John Brown connected on a buzzer-beating layup to defeat UNC Asheville, 83-81, in overtime.
- Prior to coming to Liberty, redshirt sophomore John Dawson spent a season and a half at Marquette before transferring midway through the 2014-15 season. Dawson missed the first 11 contests of this season but is now averaging 13.6 ppg in 18 contests. Conversely, former Asheville guard Andrew Rowsey, who led the Bulldogs in scoring last year (19.2 ppg, third in the Big South), transferred to Marquette at the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign.
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