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Game Day Central: Princeton

December 8, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Game Day Central: Princeton

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Liberty vs. Princeton game notes

Game Time:
2 p.m.

Official Tipoff:
2:05 p.m.

TV Coverage:
WFFP TV (Lynchburg)
ESPN3
Big South Network
MASN
The Walk Network
• The Walk Network Game Day Distribution List
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Matt Warner
Color Commentator: Paul Nazigian

Radio Coverage:
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
WPLY 98.5/105.9 FM (Lynchburg)
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Alan York

The Game

Liberty (4-5) aims to bounce back from a pair of close losses, hosting Ivy League preseason favorite Princeton (3-4) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Vines Center. Saturday's game will be the second game of a Vines Center doubleheader, as Liberty's women's basketball team hosts West Liberty at 11 a.m.

Princeton, which played a pair of games in Hawai'i this week, wraps up a four-game road swing on Saturday. The Tigers downed Hawai'i, 75-62, on Wednesday.

Matchup Notes
• Princeton has won all three meetings against Liberty, and will be making its first appearance in the Vines Center since posting an 80-74 win at Liberty on Jan. 4, 2014.
• Both Liberty (64-59, Nov. 15 in Lynchburg, Va.) and Princeton (81-70, Nov. 29 in Richmond, Va.) have lost to VCU this season.

Quick Notes
• Liberty is 4-2 at the Vines Center this season after dropping a tight, 61-58 decision to Furman. Ryan Kemrite returned after missing the UNCG game, leading the Flames with 18 points. Kemrite leads the Big South with a 51.2 three-point field goal percentage.
• The Flames lead the Big South in three-pointers made per game, at 9.3. Liberty has also attempted more three-point field goals than its opponent in 18 straight games.
• Tuesday night's game was the first time Liberty has lost this season when leading with five minutes remaining. The Flames went 9-1 when leading at the five-minute mark of the second half in 2015-16.
Myo Baxter-Bell has averaged 10.2 points per game in the last four contests after scoring 3.8 points per game in the first five games of the season.
• Liberty is 4-0 when winning the rebounding battle this season, and 0-5 when the opponent grabs more boards.
• 2016 Big South Coach of the Year Ritchie McKay is in his fourth year as head coach at Liberty, and second since returning to Lynchburg. In his time at Liberty (2007-09, 2015-present), McKay has posted a 40-13 (.755) record at the Vines Center.

Series History
Liberty vs. Furman Series History:
(Princeton leads, 3-0)
All-Time Meetings:
Princeton 77, Liberty 72 (Dec. 17, 2015 - Princeton, N.J.)
Princeton 65, Liberty 47 (Dec. 22, 2014 - Princeton, N.J.)
Princeton 80, Liberty 74 (Jan. 4, 2014 - Vines Center)

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach:
Ritchie McKay
Overall Record:  221-210 (15th season)
Record at Liberty: 56-52 (Fourth season)
Record vs. Princeton: 0-1

Princeton Head Coach: Mitch Henderson
Overall Record: 99-57 (Sixth season)
Record at Furman: Same
Record vs. Liberty: 3-0

Notes and Anecdotes – Princeton
• Princeton's Spencer Weisz scored his 1,000th career point in a 75-62 win at Hawai'i on Wednesday, while Head Coach Mitch Henderson needs one more win to reach 100 career victories.
• Last year, the Tigers earned a 77-72 victory over the Flames, Dec. 17, 2015 at Jadwin Gymnasium.Princeton's Henry Caruso led all players with 29 points, while Evan Maxwell scored 22 for Liberty. John Dawson made his first appearance as a Flame that day, totaling 15 points and four assists.

Team Talking Points:
• The Flames dropped their second game in six home contests on Tuesday, allowing Furman to erase a nine-point second half deficit en route to a 61-58 win
• Liberty entered the Furman matchup with a perfect 4-0 record when leading contests this season with five minutes to play (the Flames held a 47-46 lead with 5:00 left on the clock against Furman)
• The Flames have suffered five setbacks this year with the five teams having posted a combined 28-14 record (VCU 6-3/S.O.S - #42; Indiana 7-1/S.O.S - #184; William & Mary 3-4/S.O.S - #109; UNCG 7-2/S.O.S. - #292; Furman 5-4/S.O.S. - #266)
• 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
• The Flames bucked a trend against Furman, shooting better in the first half as compared to their second-half performance (first half – 43.5 percent/10-of-23; second half – 37.5 percent/9-of-24)
• On the season, the Flames are shooting 11.0 percent better during the second half (first half shooting percentage 36.2/85-of-235; second half shooting percentage 47.2/110-of-233)
• On the season, the Flames currently rank eighth in the Big South in field goal shooting percentage (41.7 percent/195-of-468)
• In its four wins this season, Liberty has shot a combined 45.8 percent from the field (98-of-214)
• In its five setbacks this year, Liberty has shot a combined 38.2 percent from the floor (97-of-254)
• The Flames have shot better than 40 percent from three-point range in three of their four 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 finished the Furman game shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range (9-of-27), marking the third game in a row the Flames have been held below 10 three-point field goals made
• Liberty currently leads the Big South and ranks No. 40 in the country, averaging 9.3 three-point field goals per game (84-of-240/35.0 percent)
• Liberty has connected on 10 or more three-pointers in four of nine games this season
• Last year, Liberty finished 12 out of 32 games connecting on 10 or more three-pointers
• The Flames shot a season-high 91.7 percent from the charity stripe against Furman, connecting on 11-of-12 attempts from the free throw line
• Liberty has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line four times this year and currently ranks sixth in the Big South in free throw shooting percentage (69.1 percent/123-of-178)
• Liberty's opponents have taken advantage of increased opportunities at the free throw line this season, as the Flames opponents are averaging 28.8 free throw attempts in five losses to 18.8 attempts per game from the charity stripe in Liberty's four wins
• Liberty lost the rebounding battle against Furman on Tuesday by one (29-28), marking the sixth time in nine games the Flames have been outrebounded this season
• Liberty and Furman combined to score only two second-chance points in the game with the Flames recording two offensive rebounds and the Paladins finishing the game with three offensive boards
• Liberty is currently 10th in the Big South and ranks No. 321 out of 347 NCAA Division I schools in rebounding margin (-6.2 rpg)
• Liberty's defense played well during the first 20 minutes of play against Furman, holding the Paladins to 30.8 percent shooting from the floor (8-of-26)
• Furman was able to overcome a nine-point second half deficit by shooting 58.3 percent from the floor (14-of-24), marking the third time Liberty has allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent during the second half (Indiana – 57.1 percent/12-of-21; Mississippi Valley State – 52.2 percent/12-of-23)
• Liberty currently leads the Big South in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 66.2 points per game
• Liberty has forced 10 or more turnovers in eight of nine games this season and ranks second in the Big South in turnovers forced (16.13 per game)