Liberty (12-16) at Morgan State (5-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hill Field House (4,250) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: Liberty 7-7, Morgan St. 3-7. Away Record: Liberty 5-8, Morgan St. 2-9. Neutral Record: Liberty 0-1, Morgan St. 0-2. Conference Record: Liberty 7-9, Morgan St. 3-9. Series Record: Liberty leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Heading into its BracketBuster matchup, Liberty has found its stride with three straight wins. The Flames have kept their usual balanced scoring while scorching the nets. In Tuesday's 78-69 win over VMI, the Flames held Division I's fourth-best scoring offense 13 points below its season average.
Five players are scoring in double figures with David Minaya and Jesse Sanders leading the way at 12.9 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. Sanders, though, is even better at distributing the ball, averaging eight assists per game to rank second nationally.
One of the ways the Flames have improved is by becoming comfortable on the road, where they have won four of their last five games -- the lone setback in that span being a two-point decision at Winthrop. That's not good news for Morgan State, which has dropped six straight games, including its last four at Hill Field House.
This has been an utterly disappointing season for coach Todd Bozeman and Morgan State. The Bears were predicted to finish first in the MEAC's preseason poll.
Morgan State is only 2-10 when it has stepped out of conference this season, but this clash will be a little more emotional for the seniors, who are playing their final home game. They are point guard Larry Bastfield, swingman Aric Brooks, forward Ameer Ali and 6-9, 250-pound big man Kevin Thompson.
The Bears will try to take charge inside with 6-8 leading scorer DeWayne Jackson (13.4 ppg), Thompson (11.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and 7-2 shot-blocker Ian Chiles (40 blocks) leading the way.
Any type of consistent three-point shooting, as Liberty has had during its current winning streak, figures to be a difference-maker. The Flames are shooting 30.7 percent from behind the arc this season, which is better than Morgan State's 28.6 percent effort.
Both teams are appearing in the BracketBuster event for the fourth time. This is the first match-up between these teams since Liberty posted a 68-51 win over Morgan State on January 22, 1983.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morgan State 68, Liberty 64
02/18 10:32:40 ET
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