Liberty (16-7, 7-1) vs. Eastern Kentucky (11-12, 3-6)
Richmond, Kentucky – McBrayer Arena (Capacity: 6,500)
Saturday, Feb. 5, 7:00 p.m.

Last Meeting: Liberty lost, 73-65, in Lynchburg on Nov. 18, 2011
Series History: Tied 2-2

Projected LU Starters:

2 Darius McGhee (Sr., 5-9, 150) – 22.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 apg
23 Joseph Venzant (Fr., 6-3, 170) – 4.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.7 apg
20 Keegan McDowell (R-Sr., 6-6, 180) – 10.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.8 apg
22 Kyle Rode (Jr., 6-7, 220) – 7.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.9 apg
33 Shiloh Robinson (R-Jr., 6-7, 200) – 10.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg

Projected Eastern Kentucky Starters:

0 Russhard Cruickshank (Sr., 6-0, 172) – 7.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.8 apg
5 Cooper Robb (Sr., 6-1, 184) –  10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 apg
4 Curt Lewis (Fr., 6-5, 22) – 8.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.6 apg
24 Michael Moreno (So., 6-7, 225) – 10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.8 apg
13 Tariq Balogun (So., 6-10, 237) – 4.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.3 apg


One of three new teams in the ASUN this season, many expected Eastern Kentucky to compete for the conference title in their first season from the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels were picked to finish second in the preseason coaches’ poll, behind Liberty.

Things haven’t gone as planned for EKU so far this season behind four-year head coach A.W. Hamilton. They finished non-conference play at 8-6 after withstanding a five-game losing streak earlier in the year. Eastern Kentucky began the new year and conference play short-handed as several players were fighting through various ailments. The Colonels limped to an 0-4 start in ASUN play.

Since that time, EKU has begun to turn the corner, winning three out of five games including a triple overtime home win Thursday evening against Kennesaw State. In that win, starters Cooper Robb and Michael Moreno each played over 50 minutes as they seek to go up against the three-time defending ASUN champs just 48 hours later.

Eastern Kentucky has a deep roster with 11 players averaging double figure minutes on the season and six of those averaging double figures. Those six players are all averaging between 10.6 and 10.1 points per game, led by 6’2″ guard Jomaru Brown. The fourth-year senior has only started two games this season, but his 10.6 points per game leads the team. 6’9″ forward Jannson Williams, a transfer from Marshall who started 88 games for the Thundering Herd, is also averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He did play just nine minutes in Thursday’s game against Kennesaw State.

6’6″ freshman forward Devontae Blanton is in his second year in the program. He has started 16 games this year and is averaging 27.5 minutes, 10.6 points, and 6.3 rebounds per game. Michael Moreno and Charlotte transfer Cooper Robb are the leaders of the team. They are each averaging over 10 points per game while Robb leads the team in minutes played this season.

NC State transfer guard Braxton Beverly was expected to be one of the top players for Eastern Kentucky this season, but he has only played in 16 games this season and has not seen the floor since Jan. 18, missing the past four games. The 5’10” Beverly is averaging 10.1 points per game this year.


Liberty 75, Eastern Kentucky 68