Liberty drops its 8th straight, falling to Princeton 77-72. Here are our rapid reactions following the game:

  1. Everyone wanted to know about John Dawson. The Marquette transfer made his debut tonight following the conclusion of the Fall semester. He got off to a terrific start, scoring 7 points in the first 4 minutes of game action, but only played 7 first half minutes as he picked up 2 quick fouls. He finished the game with 15 points on 6/9 shooting and 2/4 from 3- point range. He did struggle with 5 turnovers. The Flames have been struggling on offense this season, but hopefully Dawson will give them a much needed shot in the arm moving forward. He did tonight.
  2. Dawson’s offensive ability suddenly gives Liberty 3 viable scoring options alongside Evan Maxwell and Lovell Cabbil. This will hopefully give both Maxwell and Cabbil more breathing room on that side of the ball.
  3. Coach McKay went 9 deep against Princeton. It will be interesting to see what the starting lineup will be with Dawson now inserted into it as well as what the rotation becomes. Starting tonight alongside Dawson was Cabbil, Maxwell, Ryan Hiepler and Caleb Homesley. Maxwell is the only one of that starting 5 that received any playing time at Liberty last season. Cabbil, Hiepler, and Homesley are all freshmen, and Dawson sat out the Spring semester after transferring from Marquette.
  4. The Flames used the pick & roll with Maxwell more tonight than we’ve seen most of the season, and it was very effective. Maxwell, who came into the game 2nd in the country in field goal percentage, continues to show improvement in his offensive game. He aggressively attacked when he was double-teamed. Maxwell finished the game with 22 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 9/13 from the field.
  5. Liberty shot over 50% from the field tonight for the first time this season against a Division I opponent. The Flames did shoot 59% from the field against Summit in the 2nd game of the year.
  6. The Flames out-rebounded the Tigers 29-27. As we noted in our pregame coverage, Princeton entered the game as the top team in the country in offensive rebounding percentage allowed. They also ranked in the top 35 in the country in rebounding margin and total rebounds. Very impressive for the undersized Flames to win the battle of the boards.
  7. Hansel Atencia got squeezed out of the rotation in Dawson’s return. After all, there’s only 200 minutes McKay has at his disposal and Dawson is going to take minutes from someone.
  8. Princeton won the game at the free throw line connecting on 28 of their 39 attempts. Liberty had just 13 free throw attempts.
  9. The Flames return to action Sunday afternoon at St Francis Brooklyn at 4pm.