Via Twitter @ASeaofRed
LYNCHBURG, Va. They kicked off their week knowing one of the most prestige’s early season college basketball tournaments in Paradise Jam would overtake the Hill City on Friday from national media and high profile march madness hopefuls. First order of business was traveling to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and face Wake Forest out of the ACC. Conference alone would sway toward the Deacons with tension from wall to wall after dropping their first game 85-83 to Georgia Southern.
The Flames had proven in exhibition that they could go on the road to a hostile environment at VCU and lockdown defensively and hit enough shots, although a week of four games in six days is a different animal.
Ritchie McKay, brought the pack-line defense with him to Liberty from his days as Associate head coach at the University of Virginia.
Road games in non-conference have not been kind to the Flames in the past, but the culture McKay has instilled a culture and recruited resilient players leading to tonight’s first non-conference road win since 2012. It is a small victory for the coaching staff, but with potential games against Houston and even Colorado looming later this week, it is on to the next one.
A step in the right directions is what the Flames were looking for on Tuesday night and that is exactly what they received from the whole squad committing on defense first and knowing that the offense would come.
The crowd was taken out of the game early on with Liberty leading for over 11 minutes in the first half and did not cough up the lead in the second half.Wake Forest had its opportunities forcing 13 Liberty turnovers in the first half, but the Flames countered that with 13 points off of second chance opportunities. The Flames would limit those opportunities in the second half with four turnovers.
Flames had three players in double-figures, lead by Lovell Cabbil’s 22 points. Scottie James in his second career game made his presence known with 9 points and 14 rebounds against a much larger Deacons squad. It all came down to hustle and Liberty took the 50/50 balls.
Liberty heads home in preparation for Paradise Jam, with a first round matchup against Mercer Friday at Noon.
Full coverage of Paradise Jam this weekend will be by myself courtside in Vines Center via twitter @FlamesHoopszn and @BeyondtKey