LYNCHBURG, Va. — The off-season following the 2017-18 season is barely two days old, but it’s shaping up to be an interesting one across the country.
The number of players transferring this season has already eclipsed 300, and the number grows with each passing hour. Several factors play into a player’s decision to transfer, ranging from opportunity to academics, and from relationships to simply moving closer to home.
RADFORD, Va. — The Big South Conference is shaping up to be an exciting race to the finish in 2017-18.
Entering Monday’s action, every team in the conference has at least one win and at least one loss. Three games separate the teams at 1-4 from the ones at 4-1. The level of parity in the league has fans excited for the rest of the season, and any one of a handful of teams could realistically win the conference title and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
On Monday, the Liberty Flames and Radford Highlanders are set to do battle in a game that features two of the top contenders for the conference title. The Highlanders come into the day in a tie for first place, while the Flames are just a game behind and are nipping at their heels.
A win for either team would assert them as arguably the top threat in the conference through six games. Radford wants to hold down home court, while the Flames want to pick up a road win and make a statement. Both are coming off losses in their previous outings, so they would like to start new winning streaks with a win.
Here’s what you need to know in advance of Monday’s tilt between Liberty and Radford.
ROCK HILL, SC. — Lovell Cabbil scored a team-high 19 points to go along with five assists, and Isaiah Williams hit a pair of free throws in the closing minute to seal the deal on a 73-70 win for the Liberty Flames over the Winthrop Eagles on Tuesday night.
Tuesday marked the first of two meetings between the Flames and the defending champions in the Big South Conference. Liberty was looking to keep pace atop the conference standings with the Radford Highlanders, while the Eagles were simply looking to get back to .500 in conference play.
Winthrop had Liberty’s number last season, sweeping the regular season series against the Flames with a pair of double-digit victories. The Flames had their sights set on some retribution on Tuesday on the Eagles’ home floor, and they didn’t disappoint.
While the Eagles would open up a 14-2 lead just over five minutes into the game, the Flames would claw their way back and neither team would lead by more than eight points the rest of the way. The game came down to the wire, and it was ultimately won at the free throw line.
With nine seconds left in the game, Williams grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. He hit both free throws, giving Liberty the 71-70 lead. Ryan Kemrite would pad the lead with a pair of free throws with two ticks on the clock, and Liberty picked up the 73-70 victory on the road. Continue reading Late Free Throws Send Liberty Past Winthrop, 73-70→
LYNCHBURG, Va. — Saturday afternoon marks the final non-conference game at home for the Liberty Flames.
Liberty is off to its best start in a season since the 2008-09 campaign, which was head coach Ritchie McKay’s first stint with the Flames. At 7-3, Liberty currently has the most wins out of any team in the Big South Conference, and they have won five of their last six games heading into Saturday.
The Flames will host the Kentucky Christian Knights, who will be playing their second Division I team in a row. Liberty will then head to Louisiana for the New Orleans Shootout before beginning conference play at the end of December to close out the 2017 calendar year.
While the game serves as an exhibition for the Knights, the Flames will look to iron out any kinks that they may have before the grind of conference play begins.
LYNCHBURG, VA. — Big time players hit big time shots.
Junior guard Francis Alonso is a big time player. On Saturday afternoon, Alonso hit big shot after big shot for the UNC Greensboro Spartans, who were in a dog fight on the road against the Liberty Flames.
Liberty held an 11-point lead with under five minutes to play, but the Spartans launched a comeback, one that saw Alonso hit a clutch shot in the closing seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime. They needed three overtime periods, but Alonso made sure that UNCG was the team that came out on top when all was said and done.