Liberty (9-4, 1-1) vs. Kennesaw State (3-7, 0-2)
Lynchburg, Virginia – Liberty Arena
Friday, Jan. 8, 6:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 9, 5:00 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Liberty won both meetings last year, 83-45 in Lynchburg, and 76-52 in Kennesaw.
Series History: The Flames are 4-0 all-time against the Owls with all the meetings coming in the previous two seasons.
Projected LU Starters:
1 Chris Parker (Sr., 6-1, 170) – 9.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 4.7 apg
2 Darius McGhee (Jr., 5-9, 150) – 15.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.8 apg
10 Elijah Cuffee (Sr., 6-4, 200) – 10.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg
22 Kyle Rode (So., 6-7, 220) – 6.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg
32 Blake Preston (R-So., 6-9, 225) – 8.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.9 apg
Projected Kennesaw State Starters:
1 Terrell Burden (So., 5-10, 160) – 6.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg
22 Spencer Rodgers (Jr., 6-4, 178) – 16.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
3 Chris Youngblood (Fr., 6-4, 212) – 13.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
5 Brandon Stroud (Fr., 6-6, 196) – 6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 apg
10 Alex Peterson (Jr., 6-7, 217) – 7.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.6 apg
- Liberty finished the calendar year 2020 with 24 wins, 4th most in all of Division I.
- The Flames have a 29-game winning streak at home which is the second longest streak in the country, trailing only Gonzaga.
- Liberty ranks No. 70 in the first edition of the NET Rankings, the highest in the ASUN.
- Elijah Cuffee has played in 119 career games, which ranks No. 3 in Division I.
- Liberty has made 153 three-pointers this season which ranks No. 1 in Division I. The Flames’ 11.8 makes per game ranks No. 4 in the country.
- Darius McGhee currently leads the country with 43 made three pointers this season. McGhee is one of three players who rank in the top 65 nationally in made three pointers as Cuffee is No. 30 and McDowell is No. 64.
- Chris Parker ranks No. 15 in the country with 61 assists this season.
- Liberty ranks No. 12 as a team in assist turnover ratio. The Flames are No. 2 in the country with 221 assists as a team this season.
The Liberty Flames will play two games this weekend after all. The Flames were originally scheduled to host Florida Gulf Coast Friday and Saturday before those games were canceled as there have been COVID issues within the Eagles program. On Tuesday, the ASUN announced a changed schedule which includes Liberty now hosting Kennesaw State.
The Owls are 3-7 overall and 0-2 this season. Their 3 wins came against non-Division I opponents Carver, Toccoa Falls, and Dalton State. They have lost to UAB, Creighton, Belmont, Samford, Mercer, and twice to Jacksonville to begin ASUN play. KSU lost to the Dolphins at home, 62-57 and 72-66, last week.
“Amir’s got a really good team this year, although young,” said McKay. “If not for their youth, they would probably be about 6-3 right now. They’ve been playing really good of late here, it will be tall task.”
Under 2nd year head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim, Kennesaw has lost 27 straight Division I games and 19 consecutive conference games. Abdur-Rahim is 1-35 in his two seasons with the Owls against Division I opponents and has yet to win a conference game.
“They’ve got some talent,” McKay said. “Spencer and Youngblood are terrific from the guard line. He’s got a couple of point guards that really do a good job in creating for themselves and their teammates. Peterson’s manning the post and Brandon Stroud we recruited. This is a talented team. They are athletic. I think you can chalk up their record to inexperience, but they are going to win some games in our league, let’s just hope it’s not this weekend.”
After missing last weekend’s games in Nashville against Lipscomb following a positive test for COVID-19, Flames’ head coach Ritchie McKay is out of quarantine and is back with the team.
“It’s nice to be back doing something you love, around a group of people that you love, staff and players included,” said McKay.
Liberty 73, Kennesaw State 53
Liberty 73, Kennesaw State 53