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Cuffee Named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year; Flames Picked No. 2 in Preseason Poll

November 5, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Cuffee Named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year; Flames Picked No. 2 in Preseason Poll

ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team and Polls

The Liberty men's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the 2020-21 ASUN men's basketball preseason coaches and media polls, the conference announced Thursday. Liberty's Elijah Cuffee was also voted as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, while Darius McGhee was named to the Preseason All-Conference Team along with Cuffee.

Liberty enters its third season in the ASUN Conference as they finished the first two seasons with a pair of ASUN championships. In the ASUN Preseason Polls, the Flames received one first-place vote in the coaches' poll and 10 first-place votes in the media poll. Lipscomb was picked to finish first in the ASUN Conference in both the coaches' poll and the media poll

Cuffee is the first player in program history to earn a Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honor as Cuffee led a defense that ranked No. 2 in the country in scoring defense last season, allowing just 53.7 points per game. The senior from Poca, W.Va. spearheaded a defense that held 14 opponents to under 50 points last season. Cuffee is the only player in program history to play in a conference championship game in every season wearing a Liberty uniform and has also posted the most wins in school history (81 wins) in a player's first three years at Liberty. Last season, Cuffee ranked second on the team in blocks and returns as Liberty's second leading scorer from last season's squad.

McGhee joins Cuffee on the All-Conference Team following a stellar sophomore campaign where he was named to the ASUN All-Tournament Team after averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. The native of Roxboro, N.C. scored double-figures in seven ASUN contests last season and is shooting .410 percent from the field and .855 percent from the free throw line for his career. During his first two seasons at Liberty, McGhee has scored 602 points and started in all 34 games last season. McGhee was one of six unanimous selections in this year's all-conference team.

Liberty is one of three schools (FGCU and North Alabama) to have more than one player named to the All-Conference team.

Liberty's 16-game ASUN Conference schedule will begin with back-to-back away games (Dec. 31 and Jan. 2) versus Lipscomb. The following weekend (Jan. 7 and Jan. 9), the Flames will return home to face FGCU.