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MBB Gameday Central: Winthrop

December 3, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Chene Phillips and the Flames host the defending Big South champion Winthrop Eagles, Saturday, at 7 p.m.

Chene Phillips and the Flames host the defending Big South champion Winthrop Eagles, Saturday, at 7 p.m.

Complete Game Notes

Live Stats

Live Flames Sports Network Radio Broadcast

Live Video (Big South Network)

Winthrop Men's Basketball Web Page

The Games

The Liberty men's basketball team returns to the Vines Center on Saturday, playing host to defending conference champion Winthrop. The contest marks the 44th meeting between the two squads, with the Eagles holding a 29-14 edge in the series. Liberty is looking for its first win over Winthrop since the 2008-09 season, as the Eagles took all three meetings last season. Tipoff inside the Vines Center is slated for 7 p.m.

Recent Results
Liberty picked up its second straight win on Saturday, wrapping up the South Padre Island Invitational with a 67-65 overtime victory over Chicago State. The extra period allowed the Flames to take home some hardware, as they were crowned champions of the tournament's Laguna Madre Division.

For the second straight season, the Liberty men's basketball team opened its Big South conference slate on a positive note with a win Thursday evening. Despite trailing for three-fourths of the contest, the Flames rallied in the final 10 minutes against Presbyterian College, besting the Blue Hose in the Vines Center, 70-61.

With the win, Liberty improves to 5-4 on the season and 1-0 in conference play, while PC falls to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the Big South.

Watch and Listen to the Flames
Saturday's contest will be televised on the Flames Sports Network with Ray Jones providing the play-by-play and Tim Scarborough adding color commentary. There will be a Flames Sports Network radio broadcast (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Alan York providing the play-by-play. York took over play-by-play duties this season for longtime broadcaster Jerry Edwards, who retired this past spring after 29 years.
In addition to the radio broadcast, an Internet audio broadcast on will be available.

Soaring with the Eagles
The Eagles are the defending Big South Champions after capturing the 10th Big South Championship in program history on March 6. Winthrop returns three starters from its championship squad this season – Reggie Middleton, Matt Morgan and Robbie Dreher.

Winthrop is currently 4-3 on the season, which includes a notable win over ACC member Wake Forest (83-74) on Nov. 22. Dreher leads the Eagles in points this season, averaging 16.0 tallies per contest, followed by Andre Jones (12.7 ppg) and Reggie Middleton (11.3 ppg).

Liberty-Winthrop Series
Heading into Saturday's contest, Winthrop leads the all-time series between the Flames and the Eagles, 29-14. Winthrop is the only member of the Big South that has a winning record inside the Vines Center, posting an 11-9 mark in Lynchburg.

Last season, the Flames and the Eagles met on three occasions. Winthrop narrowly held on for the win inside Winthrop Coliseum on Jan. 9. Kyle Ohman tried to send the contest into overtime with a long three-point attempt, but the shot fell short, as the Eagles edged the Flames, 65-62.

Winthrop won more decisively in the second meeting at the Vines Center on Feb. 4, taking the contest, 67-43.

Liberty's 2009-10 season came to an end at Winthrop, as the No. 6 seed Flames visited the No. 3 seed Eagles in the 2010 Big South Championship quarterfinals. In a tight contest, Winthrop advanced past a relentless Flames squad with a 76-67 win, eventually earning its 10th Big South Championship. Despite Liberty's loss, point guard Jesse Sanders closed the season out in style, netting a career-high 25 points.

King of Queens
On Nov. 13, Winthrop kicked off its season playing host to the program current Liberty head coach Dale Layer helped build, Queens University of Charlotte. The Eagles held off the Royals inside Winthrop Coliseum, taking the contest, 70-61.

While serving as director of athletics and head men's basketball coach at the former all-women's institution, Dale Layer finished his career at Queens with a 167-87 record. During Layer's nine-year tenure, the Royals amassed an above .500 record in 8-of-9 seasons, garnering 20 or more wins five times.

Layer's time at Queens also featured two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. In 1996, the Royals reached the Sweet 16. Two seasons later, in Layer's final season, the Royals reached the opening round of the tournament. This year, Queens rewarded Layer for his achievements by inducting him into the Queens Hall of Fame.

Layer Versus the Eagles
Entering Saturday's game, head coach Dale Layer is currently 2-5 all-time against Winthrop.
During Layer's tenure at Queens, the Royals matched up with the Eagles on four occasions. The first meeting took place on Nov. 24, 1990, as the visiting Royals shocked the Eagles in their season opener in Rock Hill, S.C., 72-64.

Winthrop also opened its season at home against Queens during the 1992-93 campaign on Dec. 2, 1992. The Eagles avenged the loss from the previous meeting, besting the Royals, 92-84. The following season, the Royals upset the Eagles once again, earning an 85-77 decision (Dec. 15, 1993).

Layer's last meeting with Winthrop while at Queens occurred on Dec. 11, 1994. The Eagles managed to even the series with Queens, edging out the Royals, 73-70.