Liberty holds off High Point, 55-52. Here’s our rapid reactions:
- Ryan Kemrite hit a 3 pointer with 10 seconds left to give Liberty a 5 point lead at 55-50. It proved to be the winning basket. Kemrite finished the game with a game-high 21 points 7/11 shooting from the field and 5/9 from 3.
- Liberty’s “bigs” had difficulty guarding High Point’s Miles Bowman, Jr. Myo Baxter-Bell was plagued by foul trouble throughout the night, only playing 7 minutes. Bowman finished the game with 14 points.
- The Flames struggled shooting from 3 all night, finishing the game just 7/27 for 25.9%.
- Lovell Cabbil had the big first half, scoring Liberty’s first 7 points of the game, finishing with 13 points in the first half. He did not score in the 2nd frame.
- Liberty improves to 19-3 when holding its opponents to 62 points or fewer in the past 2 seasons since McKay has returned as head coach.
- The Flames, currently at 18-10, have clinched its first winning season since 2010-11. The team needs just 2 more wins in its final 4 games (minimum of 4 games, including first round in the Big South Tourney) to clinch the program’s first 20 win season since 2008-2009 (McKay was also head coach). Only 5 previous seasons in the program’s 45 year history have the Flames won 20 or more games, with only 3 20 win seasons in the program’s DI history.
- Prior to last season, Liberty hadn’t won 7 straight games in 12 years, dating back to the 2003-04 season, and they have now accomplished that feat in 2 consecutive seasons. Only one other time has Liberty posted winning streaks of 7+ in consecutive seasons, as it happened when Liberty won 8 straight during the 1991-92 season and 9 straight during the 1992-93 season. The program’s longest win streak is 11, which happened during the 1979-80 season when the Flames won the NCCAA National Championship.
- Liberty moves into sole possession of first place in the Big South with the win, just half a game ahead of UNC Asheville who is currently 12-2. The Bulldogs host last place Presbyterian Wednesday night. The Flames win over High Point clinches a top 3 finish in the regular season for Liberty, which will be the highest the Flames have finished since the 2011 team when they finished 2nd.
- Huge game for Liberty on Saturday as they head to Rock Hill, South Carolina to take on Winthrop. The Eagles are currently 11-3 in the conference before they face Longwood Wednesday night.
- Former NBA player and coach Mark Jackson was in the house taking in the game. Jackson is a friend of Liberty graduate assistant Alex McLean.
AC Reid – “We feel like we have a chance to go into every game and win just because of our defense. We have the best defense in the conference, I believe, and our coaches believe that. It shows every night when we go out there and play. We know if we come out and play defense like we’re supposed to, then that will give us a great chance to win every game.”
Ryan Kemrite – “It was a great play call by coach, first off. We executed perfectly – Georgie made a great pass off a great drive, and I just had a room and rhythm look that I practice every day and I knocked it down.”
Coach McKay – “Our guys have a belief. They have a quiet, humble confidence about them. They feel like we can win the next possession. That’s come over the course of time. It’s a credit to them because they really are selfless. There are so many things that happened (before Kemrite’s 3) that gave us a chance, and I’m proud of our guys for continuing to believe in the system and believe in one another. Our returners from last year have influenced our young guys, our freshmen, and there’s a confidence, that’s not arrogant, that’s really helped our team get stronger not only physically, but mentally.”