Liberty (7-4) vs. Northern Iowa (4-5)
Diamond Head Classic
Honolulu, Hawaii – Stan Sheriff Center (Capacity: 10,300)
Wednesday, Dec. 22, 3:00 p.m. ET

Last Meeting: First meeting
Series History: N/A

Projected LU Starters:

2 Darius McGhee (Sr., 5-9, 150) – 19.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg
23 Joseph Venzant (Fr., 6-3, 170) – 4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.3 apg
20 Keegan McDowell (R-Sr., 6-6, 180) – 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.3 apg
22 Kyle Rode (Jr., 6-7, 220) – 4.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg
33 Shiloh Robinson (R-Jr., 6-7, 200) – 7.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.7 apg

Projected Northern Iowa Starters:

0 Nate Heise (Fr., 6-4, 190) – 9.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
4 AJ Green (Jr., 6-4, 190) – 18.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 apg
3 Tywhon Pickford (Sr., 6-4, 200) – 5.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg
11 Trae Berhow (Sr., 6-5, 200) – 8.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 apg
50 Austin Phyfe (Jr., 6-9, 250) – 7.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.6 apg


The Liberty Flames will spend Christmas in Hawaii taking part in the Diamond Head Classic. The Flames begin play on Wednesday against Northern Iowa and then will play against either Stanford or Wyoming on Thursday, depending on the outcomes of the games to open the Diamond Head Classic. The entire tournament will be aired on either ESPN2 or ESPNU with Wednesday’s game between the Flames and Panthers on ESPNU.

Northern Iowa is coached by Ben Jacobson who is in his 16th year at the helm with a 305-194 career record. Jacobson has taken the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament four times during his tenure that includes a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010. However, UNI has not made the Big Dance since 2016. Last season, Northern Iowa finished 10-15 overall and 7-11 in Missouri Valley play.

It’s been a mixed bag for Northern Iowa to begin the 2021-22 campaign. They have a marquee win on the road against St. Bonaventure as well as a nice win by 15 over Marshall in their last outing this past Saturday. The Panthers have lost three games by single digits, falling to Nicholls State, Bradley, and Richmond by close margins. Their other losses have come against Vermont (71-57) and Arkansas (93-80).

UNI is led by 6’4″ guard AJ Green who was a consensus four-star recruit and ranked in the top 80 for his class by ESPN. He was the highest rated player to ever commit to Northern Iowa and the program’s first four-star recruit. He was named the Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year as he averaged 15 points per game. As a sophomore, Green was named the MVC Player of the Year as he averaged 19.7 points per game. Last season, Green only appeared in three games, averaging 22.3 points, before he underwent season-ending hip surgery.


Northern Iowa 64, Liberty 63