Tue, 09 Aug 2022

Liberty's long home winning streak at risk vs. Missouri

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2021, 09:05 GMT+10

The Liberty Flames will try to extend their home winning streak to 40 games when they host the Missouri Tigers Thursday in Lynchburg, Va.

The Flames (3-3) haven't lost at home since Jan. 29, 2019, when they fell to Lipscomb.

But the Tigers (4-3) will be the first Southeastern Conference team to play the Flames at Liberty Arena. They are also the first Power Five conference team Liberty has hosted since Clemson in 2009.

Missouri routed NAIA opponent Paul Quinn College 91-59 in its previous game. Forward Kobe Brown (20 points, 23 rebounds, six assists) did the heavy lifting. Brown is averaging 15.4 points and 9.6 rebounds.

"He's a three-year starter, so you expect him to play well in games like these," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. "But I think the thing that makes him special is he's a guy who just plays basketball. It's not a case of, 'I need to score the ball or get my shots.' He plays basketball, gets rebounds, finds the open guy."

Amari Davis, who is averaging 11.1 points, assumed more point guard duties against Paul Quinn.

"Amari being at the point guard position can get out and push it, but he also can get downhill and make plays," Martin said. "His ability to get downhill and make a pull-up he's one of the best I've seen at that age as far as making pull-ups. He can get in the lane and he's aggressive."

Liberty is a perennial ASUN power that has won 85 games in the past three-plus seasons. The Flames lost to LSU, Iona and Manhattan away from home this season before defeating Bethune-Cookman and Maryland Eastern Shore on their court.

"We're a young team," said forward Shiloh Robinson, who had 13 points and seven rebounds in the last game. "In years past we had really high expectations that we're always going to win because we won a lot. But it's really hard. Those three losses were good for us. We've got to learn, hopefully learn from our mistakes. We're on the right trajectory."

Darius McGhee leads the Flames in scoring with 18.3 points per game.

"I think Darius has a unique ability to get to the basket and to shoot with range." Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. "His creation for our offensive shot selection is really important."

--Field Level Media

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