Liberty (12-5, 4-2) vs. Jacksonville (9-7, 3-3)
Jacksonville, Florida – Swisher Gymnasium
Friday, Jan. 29, 7:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 30, 6:00 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Liberty won both meetings a season ago, 54-37 at the Vines Center in Lynchburg and 71-62 in Jacksonville.
Series History: The Flames are 5-0 all-time against the Dolphins, with all of those games coming the past two seasons since Liberty joined the ASUN prior to the 2018-19 season.
Projected LU Starters:
1 Chris Parker (Sr., 6-1, 170) – 10.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.3 apg
2 Darius McGhee (Jr., 5-9, 150) – 13.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.7 apg
10 Elijah Cuffee (Sr., 6-4, 200) – 10.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
22 Kyle Rode (So., 6-7, 220) – 6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apg
32 Blake Preston (R-So., 6-9, 225) – 9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.4 apg
Projected Jacksonville Starters:
14 Mo Arnold (RFr., 6-2, 180) – 7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
2 Corey Romich (Sr., 6-4, 205) – 1.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.9 apg
23 Tyreese Davis (R-So., 6-6, 210) – 10.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 apg
13 Bryce Workman (So., 6-7, 230) – 10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 apg
0 Dontarius James (Jr., 6-8, 228) – 18.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 apg
- The Flames have a 31-game winning streak at home which is the second longest streak in the country, trailing only Gonzaga. Liberty has gone two full years without a home loss, with the last loss coming on Jan. 29, 2019.
- Liberty ranks No. 86 in the NET Rankings, the highest in the ASUN.
- Elijah Cuffee has played in 123 career games, which ranks No. 3 in Division I.
- Liberty has made 177 three-pointers this season which ranks No. 6 in Division I. The Flames’ 10.4 makes per game ranks No. 12 in the country.
- Darius McGhee currently ranks No. 15 in the country with 48 made three pointers this season.
- Chris Parker ranks No. 37 in the country with 73 assists this season.
- Liberty ranks No. 9 as a team in assist turnover ratio. The Flames are No. 8 in the country with 273 assists as a team this season.
The Dolphins were picked to finish 7th in the ASUN Preseason poll, but they have been one of the surprises early in the season. Under 7th year head coach Tony Jasick, Jacksonville got out to a 6-2 start to the season before dropping games at Miami and Kansas State. The Dolphins opened ASUN play on the road at Kennesaw State, winning the two games by 5 and 6 points, respectively. Jacksonville would then defeat North Florida at home in the first of two games against the Ospreys, before falling on Saturday, 70-68.
At 3-1, Jacksonville was in first place atop the ASUN standings, tied with North Alabama, setting up a first place showdown last week in Florence, Alabama. The Dolphins would drop both of those games, falling to 3-3 in conference play.
Jacksonville has had the benefit of a couple of transfers this season that have made big impacts. 6’8″ forward Dontarius James joined the Dolphins this season after spending two years at Xavier. James has made an immediate impact at Jacksonville and is a candidate for first-team all-ASUN. He’s currently averaging 18.0 points per game and scored exactly 30 points in both games against North Florida a few weeks ago.
“He’s a natural,” Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay said. “He can score it from deep. I’ve seen him hit a 32-footer before. He’s big-bodied, he can push you off the block. He’s a tough matchup, but we’ve had other tough matchups. We like to say our defense is playing against all five of us at a time and not just one guy, but we will throw a few guys at him to see if we can’t limit him. I don’t think you can stop him, but we’re going to try to limit him.”
6’2″ guard Kevion Nolan is eligible this season after having to sit out last year following his transfer from Samford. Nolan missed the first eight games of the season with a leg injury before returning to action for seven straight games. He’s averaging 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game this season, and has increased his scoring output to 21.0 points per game in his five ASUN games played. Nolan did miss Saturday’s game at North Alabama with an undisclosed injury and there has been no reported timetable for his return.
Liberty 70, Jacksonville 60
Liberty 70, Jacksonville 60