Before Liberty began preparing for its Big South opener against Presbyterian tonight in Clinton, S.C., the men's basketball team took some time off to return home for Christmas. For three members of Liberty's roster, the homeward journey began a few days earlier.
Lovell Cabbil, Ryan Kemrite and A.C. Reid returned to their home state of Texas to face Lamar and Houston on Dec. 19 and 21, leaving it all on the court to play in front of friends and family that helped them get to play for Liberty. It may not have been the results they wanted in terms of wins but the Texas trio from the Liberty men's basketball team showed up.
"I haven't played in front of Houston fans since high school so this was a special homecoming. I am thankful that Coach McKay gave us the opportunity to be close to friends and family and I wanted to show them the type of player I have become at Liberty," Kemrite said. "I am grateful that Coach McKay gave us this opportunity to play at home. This trip gave us the chance to grow as a team and this definitely helped us prepare for conference play."
With each player having at least 15 invited guests attend the two games, the Flames had quite the fan base in Texas, supporting the trio that scored 76 of Liberty's 109 points in the "Lone Star State."
Kemrite and Reid tied for a team-high 15 points against Lamar while Cabbil scored double-digits, adding 11 points. Against Houston, the Flames stayed close within the Cougars late in the second half and once again Kemrite led Liberty with 15 points while Cabbil scored posted season-highs in points with 14 and rebounds pulling down seven boards. Reid also added a pair of three-pointers as the three combined for 35 points against the Cougars.
"It has been over three years since some of my friends and family have seen me play so it was great to play in front of some of the people who molded me into the person I am today," Reid added. "It was fun to visit family, but the more important thing about the trip was us becoming a better team because we faced two tough opponents in Lamar and Houston."
It was evident that the natives of Texas were thrilled to play in their home state as the trio was lethal from the field, combining to shoot 26-of-50 from the field for an efficient 52.0 percent. Against Lamar, Reid posted season-highs in points (15), field goals made and three-pointers made (5).
The young one of the group, Cabbil, arguably played his best basketball of the season, scoring season-highs in points first against Lamar and then closing out the trip with 14 points, shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (5-of-10).
"It has been a couple of years since I played in front of my family and I feel like this is my early Christmas present because my grandparents were able to see me play and I wanted to put on a show for them. It feels great to see my cousins and some of my best friends from back home make the trip whether it was at Lamar or Houston because they are excited of what we are doing here at Liberty," Cabbil said. "Texas is so far from where we are in Virginia and I really think this was a great trip for us because we got away from what we are used to and it allowed for us to bond as a team."
All eyes are now looking towards conference where the Flames were picked to finish second in the Big South Conference. Liberty faced some tough opponents in its non-conference slate from all across the country and it has prepared not only the Texas trio but the entire squad for what should be an exciting Big South schedule.
By Steven Gonzalez, Liberty's Associate Athletics Communications Director (men's basketball contact)
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Instagram