A few thoughts following the Flames’ season opening, 64-62, win over Covenant to open the McKay era (again):
- Before the game, assistant coaches Omar Mance and Kyle Getter worked the team very hard in warm-ups. It was similar to a mid-season practice. This season will be all about learning.
- The starter’s on opening night were Anthony Fields, Lovell Cabbil, Ryan Kemrite, A.C. Reid, and Evan Maxwell.
- Kemrite and Reid are the only returning players with starting experience, and McKay will lean on them heavily. The sophomore combo really struggled shooting early, but got going as the game progressed. Kemrite finished with 13 points on 4/10 shooting including 2/6 on 3-point attempts. Reid had 9 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 3/6 from 3-point range.
- McKay rotated players frequently, mixing and matching combinations throughout the evening. With so many new faces, this will likely become a trend at least until conference play.
- Evan Maxwell was very active around the basket. A promising opener from the lone big man on Liberty’s roster. He finished with career highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
- Liberty trailed at halftime 27-26, after shooting just 29.4% from field in the first half. The Flames would rebound to shoot 56% in the 2nd half to finish the game at 40.7%.
- True freshman Lovell Cabbil hit final 2 free throws with 2 seconds remaining in the game to win the game.
- Anthony Fields and Hansel Atencia both got stitches, Fields in his ear and Atencia got 4 above his right eye.
- Be patient Flames Nation, it’s going to take the team time this year and McKay time to build this program.