The Liberty Flames (9-4) and Bellarmine Knights (5-8) open conference play on Thursday evening in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Flames will be looking for a bit of payback in the conference opener against Bellarmine as the Knights were the team that ended Liberty’s three year reign atop the ASUN. Bellarmine came into Liberty Arena last year and knocked off the Flames, 53-50, in the ASUN Semifinals. The Knights would go on to win the ASUN Tournament but were unable to compete in the NCAA Tournament as they were only in their 2nd year of a 4-year transition from Division II to Division I.

Several of last year’s key pieces for Bellarmine are gone as they look to compete in the upper half of the ASUN for a third straight season. The Knights have played a very challenging non-conference schedule with games against Clemson, Duke, UCLA, and Kentucky. They opened the season with a win over cross-town rival Louisville, who started the season 0-9. That win over the Cardinals is one of only two against DI opponents this season. The Knights are coming off losses to Miami Ohio and Evansville.

Here’s everything you need to know for Thursday’s matchup:

How to Watch – Liberty Flames (9-4) vs Bellarmine (5-8)

  • Date: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022
  • Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+
  • Online Streaming: Watch ESPN
  • Radio (Lynchburg): LFSN Radio (107.5 FM)

Odds and Statistics

  • KenPom currently gives Liberty an 72 percent chance to win the game with a predicted score of 67-60.
  • ESPN’s Basketball Power Index currently gives Liberty an 62.4 percent chance to win the game.

Previous Matchup

  • Liberty leads the all-time series, 2-1, with all three meetings coming in the last two seasons since Bellarmine joined the ASUN.
  • The Flames have won both meetings in the regular season, having both been played at Freedom Hall.
  • Bellarmine ended Liberty’s three straight ASUN titles by knocking off the Flames at Liberty Arena, 53-50, in the semifinals of last year’s ASUN Tournament. Dylan Penn scored 19 points to pace the way for the Knights.

Probable Starters

Stat Leaders (2022 Season)


  • Points: Darius McGhee – 22.1 PPG
  • Rebounds: Joseph Venzant – 5.5 RPG
  • Assists: Kyle Rode – 4.1 APG