Liberty (12-20) vs. High Point (17-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 7, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The HTC Center (3,600) -- Conway, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Liberty 8-7, High Point 10-5. Away Record: Liberty 4-11, High Point 6-7. Neutral Record: Liberty 0-2, High Point 1-0. Conference Record: Liberty 6-10, High Point 12-4. Series Record: Liberty, 18-13.
GAMES NOTES: After earning their first division title this season the High Point Panthers will aim for their first conference crown beginning with a quarterfinal matchup with the Liberty Flames in the Big South Conference Tournament at the HTC Center.
Liberty pulled off a minor upset in the first round as the North Division fifth seeded Flames took down the South Division fourth-seed Coastal Carolina (the tournament hosts), 78-61, on Tuesday. The Flames have now won three of their last four games to begin their attempt to salvage a season in which they are just 11-20 and 6-10 in league action.
At 12-4, High Point captured the top seed out of the North Division with its first ever division title as a member of the Big South. The Panthers were also a solid 17-12 overall but lost out on the overall No. 1 seed to Charleston Southern by being swept in the season series by the Buccaneers. High Point has never won the Big South Tournament and is trying to make it past the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.
The Panthers swept the season series against Liberty to pull closer in the all-time series. Liberty has the edge there with 18 wins in 31 total meetings.
Davon Marshall poured in a game-high 28 points as Liberty rolled over the Chanticleers in the first round on Tuesday. The Flames pulled away in the second half by shooting 46.2 percent from the field, while limiting Coastal Carolina to just eight field goals on 28.6 percent shooting.
Marshall (13.2 ppg) s one of three double figure scoring options for the Flames. The 5-foot-11 guard has been a threat to erupt offensively all season as his 28-point effort against Coastal Carolina was the fifth time this season he has scored at least 20 points in contest. John Caleb Sanders (13.7 ppg, 3.5 apg) is not only the top scorer on the roster but also the team's leader in distribution. Rounding out the offensive options is Tavares Speaks (12.9 ppg), while J. R. Coronado (5.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) ranks among the top five in the league in rebounds. Liberty is scoring a decent 68.9 points per game, despite shooting the third-worst percentage from the field (.426) among league teams.
Adam Weary's free-throws with 17 seconds remaining lifted High Point to a 63-62 win over Campbell in the regular-season finale. Weary came off the bench to score 15 points, while Allan Chaney also came in as a reserve to post a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Both were on the bench as the Panthers were starting four seniors in the home finale.
The Panthers lost their leading scorer in late February when John Brown (16.4 ppg) went down with a broken foot. The Panthers are still in good hands with Chaney (14.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) who shoots better than 50 percent from the field. Chaney has scored in double figures in three straight games with his double- double against Campbell his seventh of the year. Weary (10.0 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures. The Panthers play efficiently on the offensive end as they score a respectable 72.1 points per game, while leading the Big South in field goal percentage (.454).
Even without Brown the Panthers are a fundamentally sound team on the offensive end and should be able to move on with a win against the upset- minded Flames.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: High Point 72, Liberty 64
03/07 10:34:47 ET