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DDS: CB3 Dynasty: The Jeremy Knight Experience [Retired]

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And the Bruins do it again! Top seeded UCLA is the 2023 king of college hoops! They complete the championship repeat with a 72-52 victory over Maryland in Indianapolis! Thank you for watching the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball championship on CBS. We look forward to seeing you again next year.


I sat on my couch just staring into my tv as I watched blue and gold confetti shower all over the court at Lucas Oil Stadium. Familiar, household name players celebrated with each other, most of which I’m sure would be heading to the NBA sooner than later. The college basketball fan in me sat there enjoying the moment. Taking in what an accomplishment it was for UCLA to win back-to-back championships. However, the coach inside of me was burning with ambition. I reflected on the losing season I just came off of as a top assistant -- just another of many, unwanted unsuccessful seasons in my decade long career as an assistant. I want to be the one that experiences a confetti thunderstorm. I want to be the one hoisting up the championship trophy. I want to be the one cutting down the nets in April. I have to become a head coach, I thought to myself.


I had made a fairly quick rise through the ranks in the past few seasons, and honestly, I seriously questioned if I was ready or not to take over a program. I decided I had to take the leap eventually. I had been around big time programs, mid-majors, and low-majors. I had done everything from running practice, to scouting, and recruiting. I have experience, I reassured myself. My reassurance made me feel more comfortable with the fact that I had applied to several small schools with head coach openings. The only question left was whether or not the athletic directors saw me fit to run their program. I don’t need all of them to want me. I just need one.


The uncertainty of my future and thoughts of future success danced throughout my head that Monday night throughout the rest of the week. I was headed back to my apartment after running a skills camp at a local high school when my cell phone rang. My heart began to thump wildly. Could this be it? Could this be the call I’ve been waiting for? My free hand reached down to grasp my violently vibrating phone. I slid the answer icon to the right and placed the phone to my ear.


“Hello.” I answered.


“Hello. This is Mario Robertson. I’m trying to get ahold of Jeremy Knight, please.”


“This is he.” I said as my heart and all of time seemed to stop.


“Hi Jeremy. I’m calling you about our head coaching position. I just wanted to let you know that you’re one of our finalists and if we could set up a time for me to interview you.”

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---Liberty Athletics Press Release---


Knight Tabbed to Be Flames Next Coach


Jeremy Knight has agreed in principle to become the next head coach for the Liberty Flames men’s basketball team. Knight has spent the past 10 seasons as an assistant at several where he built an impressive resume and gained a wide depth of experience. Past stops as an assistant for Knight include Auburn, Baylor, Texas, Gonzaga, and Arizona State. This will be Knight’s first time as the head coach of a program. Most recently Knight spent the past two seasons as the top assistant at Tennessee-Martin under head coach Joe Kleine. While at UT-Martin Knight helped lead the Skyhawks to the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament. Throughout his career Knight has also been a part of teams with postseason play in the National Invitation Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Knight takes over a Flames team that finished last season with a 13-15 overall record and a 7-11 record in Big South play.


“We are very excited about Coach Knight and his vision for the Liberty men’s basketball program.” said Liberty athletics director Mario Robertson. “We look forward to the direction Coach Knight plans on taking the program to.”


Knight will be formally introduced to the public and media Saturday afternoon during a press conference at the Vine Center.

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Big South Scoop


Why Jeremy Knight?

Liberty has announced the hiring of it’s new men’s basketball coach, Jeremy Knight who will be introduced at a press conference later this week. While the news is exciting that the school is going in a new direction with a young coach (34 years of age), Knight’s lack of experience at winning programs raises some concern. Yes, Knight does have experience in the big boy conferences, but he doesn’t have winning experience. Let’s examine his career path so far:


Knight first got into coaching in 2014 when he spent two seasons on Tony Barbee’s staff at Auburn as a graduate assistant. In Knight’s two seasons with the Tigers, who can barely be considered a high major program, they never had a winning season (14-15 being the best of the two years). Auburn amassed a total overall record of 25-32 while Knight was there and a 11-21 mark in SEC play. 11-21. In a conference where the only legitimate basketball powers were Kentucky and Florida. The Tigers never finished higher than 10th in the SEC and failed to make postseason play.


After Auburn, Knight spend the next season as the third assistant on Scott Drew’s staff at Baylor. Coming off a 18-10 season that saw a berth in the NCAA Tournament, Baylor finished 2016 with a 7-21 overall record and 4-14 in Big 12 play, which was good enough for a 10th place finish in the Big 12.


Knight decided one season at Baylor was enough and jumped to Matt Painter’s program at Texas. The previous season before Knight’s arrival the Longhorns garnered over 20 wins en route to a run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. Knight’s first season in Austin ended with a 14-15 record, 8-10 in the Big 12. However, the Longhorns were able to get an invite to the CBI where they would be outed in the first round by upstart North Alabama, 65-52. The following season Frank Martin joined Painter’s staff after getting the axe at South Carolina. However, Texas continued to struggle and finished the season 13-15 (7-11) with no postseason invitation. Knight’s third season at Texas finally brought his first winning season in college athletics. The Longhorns went 17-12 (9-9) and received a bid for the NIT, where the lost to Georgia State 63-62. Knight’s three seasons in Austin compiled a total record of 44-42 and 24-30 in Big 12 play with first round exits in the CBI and NIT. But hey, he got to hang out with Matt Painter and Frank Martin for a few years.


In 2020 Knight jumped to mid-major powerhouse Gonzaga, again as a third assistant for coach Mark Few. Knight actually experienced success during his time in Spokane. The Bulldogs went 21-11 (12-6) and finished 2nd in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga earned an invite to the NCAA Tournament and fell to Pittsburgh in the second round, 55-43. While at Gonzaga Knight worked with WCC Freshman of the Year Tyrone Correa and point guard DeMario Dickerson who was selected 23rd overall by the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Draft that spring. Knight experienced the most successful season of his career with the Bulldogs, but the season ultimately fell short of Gonzaga standards.


The next season Knight made a career jump by becoming the second assistant on Larry Krystkowiak’s staff at Arizona State. Knight’s only season with the Sun Devils ended with a 14-15 record and a 9-7 mark in Pac-12 play, good enough for a 4th place finish. Arizona State did make the NIT where they were bounced in the first round by Virginia Military Institute 65-53. The Gonzaga squad Knight was on staff for the previous season finished the season with a 68-65 victory over Kansas in the NCAA Tournament championship game.


Finally, Knight joined Joe Kleine’s staff at Tennessee-Martin in 2022 as the first assistant. The first season was mildly successful, 16-13 (9-9) with a 75-73 loss to Western Michigan in the first round of the CBI. Knight’s first season in Martin wasn’t quite as successful as fans had become acquainted to recently. 2023 was a train wreck of a season for the Skyhawks. UT-Martin went 9-18 (6-12) and finished 10th in the Ohio Valley Conference. No postseason bid snapped Knight’s streak of four years with postseason play. The entire staff was either fired or failed to have their contract renewed (the language involved with Knight’s situation).


That now brings us to here. Knight is getting ready to take over a Liberty program that can hardly be described as decent throughout recent history. Maybe it’s a perfect match since both parties are so accustomed to losing. Personally, I felt like Liberty would target and hire a top assistant from a successful low- or mid-major program who knows what it takes to be successful at a small school like Liberty. Instead, they went with an unproven guy that has no head coaching experience or success at a high level, but has certainly been around his share of "big name" coaches (Drew, Painter, Martin, Few). After his departure from Auburn and Texas, both programs were back in the NCAA Tournament within 3-5 years. While Knight’s time with the programs may not have had as big of an impact on their futility as it seems, it certainly is odd that his previous teams seem to do better after he leaves -- just look at Gonzaga from above.


It’s an interesting hire to say the least. It has been a long time since Liberty had something to brag about in men’s hoops. As for Coach Knight, he better figure out what it takes to win and fast, or else he’ll be doing something he’s pretty used to so far in his career -- looking for another job.


Remember, stay connected with the Big South Scoop for all the latest news and rumors involving the Big South Conference and its affiliated members.

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This is it, I thought to myself as I stared at myself in a mirror in a bathroom. I looked pretty sharped with my solid black suit and vibrant red tie. My Liberty pin fastened to my coat really stood out and popped. I made sure that I nailed down the appearance part for my introductory press conference. Now I just had to nail down the speech and interview part of my press conference. This would be a huge first step to developing a connection with the fan base and building fan support for the program.




“I would now like to introduce you to Jeremy Knight, the new men’s basketball coach for Liberty.” said Mario Robertson from a podium, beckoning me from a behind a black curtain set up to the right of the stage. I stepped out from behind the curtain to a light applause. The lights in the arena seemed to be the brightest lights I’ve ever faced. I confidently stepped up to the stage and delivered a solid, firm handshake to Mr. Robertson as we posed for a picture together. Mr. Robertson finally retreated to his seat set up on the left side of the stage while I positioned myself behind the podium. I was finally able to examine and take in the crowd. About four or five reports were present with a photographer and a film crew from the local news station. The rest of the small crowd was made up primarily of alumni and boosters. Calling the crowd small might be a generous statement. I took a sip from my bottle of water and faced the crowd for my first press conference.


“First off, I would like to thank Mr. Robertson for believing in me and giving me my first opportunity to be a head coach.” Off to a good start, I thought in my head. “Also, I would like to thank all of my former bosses, administrators, co-workers, and players who all have played a role in helping develop me into the coach I am today. I could not be here today without the impacts each and every one of them made on me. I could not be any happier than I am today -- the head coach for the Liberty Flames men’s basketball team. It’s always been a dream of mine to one day be a head coach. That dream doesn’t come true today, rather, it begins today. I don’t want to just be a head coach. I want to be a successful head coach. I want to win championships. I want to play in the postseason. I want to develop all-conference players. I want to help the student-athletes develop as champions in the classroom and off the court. I want to build a program that the students and community can be proud of. I dare to dream that we can accomplish those things here at this fine university. I dare to dream that we can turn that into a reality. It will take a lot of hard work and patience. I’m hungry to deliver on the trust Mr. Robertson has placed on me. I know the school and the fans are hungry for success. I believe that together, we can satisfy our hunger. It starts today, and I can’t wait to get to work.”


Mr. Robertson stood up from his seat and walked back to the podium to let the (few) reporters know they were now able to ask questions.


“Coach Knight, now that you’re in Lynchburg what is the first thing you plan on doing?”


“Well, personally, I would like to find a place to live. That’s going to be an ongoing process throughout the next week or so. Professionally, I plan on meeting with all of the remaining players and staff to try to get a feel on where the team is and what is needed in terms of recruiting. I would like to bring in a few players during the spring signing period and move on from there. I will also be developing a post season workout schedule for the players.”


“What can we expect to see from the Flames on the court during your tenure?”


“I believe that to be successful first you have to be very sound defensively. I want our defense to apply pressure on the opposition. I’m not planning on running a full court press defense the entire game, we will some but not regularly. Instead, I want our players constantly applying pressure on the ball -- being up in their guy’s stuff and making it hard for the opposing offense to function. I want our defense to be solid -- boxing out and limiting teams to one shot per possession. Offensively, I would like for us to get turnovers or rebounds and get out and run in transition quick. Ideally the perfect shot for us would be a layup or dunk off of a fast break or in the transition game. If we don’t get that look then we’ll go 4-out 1-in motion.”


“What are you looking for in players you bring into your program?”


“Well, starting with the point guard position, I’m looking for a guy that primarily is a facilitator. Ball handling and passing are more important in that position than a scorer, however, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy who can facilitate and score. At the 2-guard we’re looking for a big, fast player that can score from the perimeter. We’ll also look for a similar build from our small forwards. We want our power forwards to be big and have an inside presence. The ability to spread the defense and hit some outside shots is definitely a plus. As far as centers go we want the traditional big guy that posts up on the block and either finishes with a layup or dunk, or kicks out to an open shooter for a three. With every position we value defense and free throw shooting.”




About an hour later the press conference ends and Mario Robertson meets with me in one of the tunnels of the Vine Center.


“Good job, coach.” he tells me.


“Thank you Mr. Robertson. Real quick, I just wanted to ask about hiring my staff.”


“Well, you won’t be hiring any staff this season. I promised the staff from last season that they would be carried over into this season. Once the season is over, feel free to make any changes you see fit for next season. Good luck, coach.” Mario said as he patted me on the back and walked off.


Great, I thought to myself.

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The day following my introductory press conference I was headed to my new office for my first staff meeting. I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t even be able to bring in at least one of my guys. I also wasn’t thrilled about having to spend my first season, in a major rebuilding job nonetheless, with three guys I knew absolutely nothing about. On the bright side, at least they know the program and players and can probably help with my transition into the program. I just need to survive them for one year and they’re all done.




I walked into my office and saw my three assistants. Wow, I thought to myself. How old are these guys??


My first assistant, Jamaal Henderson, was a 53-year old who had spent his entire coaching career at Liberty as an assistant. Surprisingly, he actually had quite a bit of knowledge and experience in recruiting so I decided to let him be in charge of recruiting.


Next was 65-year old Derek Parks, who also just happened to have spent his entire career at Liberty too. His resumé wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as Henderson. I decided he would be tasked with scouting. I also decided he would most likely be looking for a new home next season as well.


Finally, there was 61-year old Chris Sola who actually started his career at Rhode Island before moving to Liberty for the previous six season. I chose to put him in charge of player development. The jury was still out on him as to whether or not I would keep him around after the season.


Finally, we were able to sit down as a staff and go over the personnel returning to the team


“How many scholarships do we have to work with?” I asked.


“Well,” Coach Henderson began, “we currently have two high school kids that have signed letters of intent for next season. Currently on our roster we have one player under scholarship.”


“One?” I asked. Surely he misspoke.


“One.” Henderson confirmed.


“ONE!?” I shouted half in disbelief and half in anger. “How does that happen??”


“We’ve had an extremely difficulty time recruiting here in the previous years. Being a Christian school with strict rules, difficult admission requirements, in addition to our lack of success on the court recently, very few people have been interested in coming here.” Henderson clarified.


“And you somehow got two kids to sign this season? Dang. Before we figure out what direction we need to go in as far as recruiting goes, let’s discuss our current personnel. Coach Sola.”


“Yes sir. For point guards we have Jeremy Battier. He’s a redshirt freshman and played 4 minutes in 1 game this season. He is our only player on scholarship at the moment. He’s a great shooter and a decent handler and free throw shooter. His passing is awful and his defense in nonexistent.


“Next is Brett Herbert. Good perimeter and free throw shooter. Okay handler and a poor passer and defender. Last season he played in 26 games but only averages 2.3 minutes.


“Our last point guard is Clement Angner, a junior. Good perimeter and free throw shooter. Below average handler and poor passer and defender. Averaged 13.5 minutes per game last season in 28 games with 1 start. Averaged 3.2 points per game and shot 45.7% from the field and 90.5% from the free throw line.


“Shooting guards. Collis Butler, sophomore. Great shot from beyond the arc and the line. Below average handling ability. Poor passer and defender. Started all 28 games last season averaging 5.8 points in 24.8 minutes. Shot 44.4% from the field and 83.3% from the line. Arguably our best player. Academically ineligible for the season.”


“Our best player in ineligible this season. Great.” I chimed in.


“Tyler McColpin, junior. Best outside shooter on the team. Has improved his ability to create off the dribble. His vision and ability to create makes his teammates better. Has a killer crossover. Started 27 of 28 games last season. Averaged 4.9 points in 26 minutes. Shot 44.6% percent from the field and 80.0% from the line.


“Russell Sneed, freshman. Aggressive at getting to the rim and finishing or getting two fouls shots. Played 28 games last season. Averaged 3.9 points in 11.1 minutes. Shot 40.3% from the field, 91.1% from the line, and 38.9% from 3.


“Next we have our small forwards. First up is Dwayne Carr, sophomore. Good free throw shooters and rebounder. Inconsistent on the offensive end. If he’s not making shots he loses confidence in himself. Played in 6 games last season.


“Tony Marshall, sophomore. Good shooting mechanics but a slow release really hurts him. Good at getting to the line and converting. Played in 2 games last season.


“We don’t have any power forwards left on the roster.”


Wow, I thought to myself in my head. This rebuilding job may be a lot tougher than I thought.


“As far as centers go, we have Ben Griffin, junior. Played in all 28 games last season. Averaged 5.5 points in 14 minutes. Shot 53.5% from the field. Rebounds very well. Very poor free throw shooter.


“Finally, we have Derek Beck, junior. Played in 8 games last season. Averaged 2.4 points in 3.4 minutes. Shot 56.3% from the field. He really fights hard for rebounds and gets on the floor for loose balls. Sometimes seems lost on the floor on the offensive end.”


I took a few minutes to take in everything as each player was listed on a white board with notes jotted by their names.


“We have two starters returning. One of which is ineligible for the season. We have one player currently on our roster under scholarship. We have two post players. I think this next season we need to stay close to home and really mine Virginia and get some young guys in here, as well as some JUCO guys that can play right away. We REALLY need to focus on getting some post players this upcoming season. Guys, we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us. Let’s get to work.”

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Liberty Athletics Press Release


Flames Add Five to Men’s Basketball Team


With the conclusion of the spring signing period, Coach Jeremy Knight announced the addition of four new members to the Liberty Flames men’s basketball team. In addition to the two signees from the early signing period, Coach Knight was able to go out and bring in two additional players, his first signees at Liberty. In addition to the four recruits, Coach Knight was also able to add one transfer to the roster.


Gary Brooks PG 5-8 157 Columbus, Ohio/Brookhaven HS

Brooks was ranked as the 1,154th overall prospect and the 245th point guard by Rivals. At Brookhaven High School Brooks averaged 12.3 points per game with 4.9 assists. Brooks also averaged an impressive 6.1 rebounds a game. “Gary is a great shooter and has very good ball handling skills.” Knight said, “I was pleased when I found out he would stay with us after the coaching change. I look forward into developing him into our future star point guard.”


Chris Blossom C 6-8 238 Damascus, Va./Holston HS

Blossom was ranked as the 1,304th overall prospect and 222nd center by Rivals. During his senior season at Holston High School Blossom averaged 13.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game. “Chris brings some immediate help into our front court. He will be able to come in and immediately make an impact for our team. Like Gary, I am glad he chose to stay committed to Liberty.”


Damian Keith PG 6-1 199 Salem, Va./Danville CC

Keith will go down as the first official signee of the Jeremy Knight era. Keith was ranked as the 397th overall prospect and the 81st overall point guard by Rivals. Keith averaged 14.6 points per game and 3.8 assists per game last season at Danville Community College. “Damian comes in with excellent shooting and ball handling ability. He also has room to develop into a very good defender. With these skills he should have no trouble finding a spot for himself in a crowded backcourt.”


Lee Ray SF 6-3 203 Bassett, Va./Danville CC

Ray joins his Danville teammate Keith in joining the Liberty program. Ray was ranked the 508th overall prospect and the 101st small forward in the 2023 class. Last season Ray averaged 15.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. “I’m very excited about the addition of Lee Ray. He brings us another option at the wing to use and his prior relationship with Damian will be a boost to our team chemistry.”


Clyde Willis C 6-10 273 Lancaster, Va./Butler

The last addition to Knight’s team is Willis, who is transferring from Butler. Willis will have to sit out the 2024 season and will have one season of eligibility remaining for the 2025 season. Last season at Butler Willis played in 29 games with 3 starts. He averaged 14.9 minutes per game and scored 126 points in total last season. Willis also shot 46.9% from the field and 82.9% from the line. Willis originally signed with Virginia Tech out of Lancaster High School, when he was ranked the 678th overall prospect by Rivals. At Virginia Tech he redshirted his first season and played in 29 games with 2 starts his second season. That season Willis averaged 5.2 points in 21.7 minutes and shot 49.2% from the field and 75% from the line. Willis decided to transfer to Butler after the 2021 season. “We’re extremely happy to add Clyde to our team. When he becomes eligible he will immediately fill a big hole we will once again have in our front court. I wish we could get Clyde for more than one season, but we look forward to the impact he will make on the program, whether it is in practice this season or on the court next season. We’re glad that we can be the program that Clyde can finally call home.”


“I am very pleased with the class we brought in,” Knight said, “however, our work is far from being over. It’s time for us to get out and hit the road recruiting once again in order to bring some depth and stability to the roster. I look forward to having another great class this time next year.”

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Big South Scoop


Liberty Releases Schedule, Awards Scholarships

Liberty released it’s schedule for the 2024 season today. Jeremy Knight’s first season attempting to rebuild the Flames basketball team mainly occur on the road, with just 3 home non-conference games this season. You can check out the full schedule below.



11/[email protected] Portland


11/[email protected] Monmouth

11/[email protected] Cal State-Northridge

12/[email protected] Maryland-Eastern Shore

12/[email protected] Eastern Illinois

12/[email protected] Marist


12/27......Coastal Carolina*

12/[email protected] Radford*

1/3..........High Point*

1/[email protected] Presbyterian*


1/10........Charleston Southern*

1/[email protected] Winthrop*

1/[email protected] Campbell*


1/[email protected] Gardner-Webb*


2/[email protected] Coastal Carolina*

2/[email protected] High Point*


2/[email protected] Charleston Southern*


2/[email protected] Longwood*

2/[email protected] UNC-Asheville*

* - Denotes Big South Conference game


In addition to releasing its schedule today, Liberty also announced that Coach Knight has rewarded all senior walk-ons with a scholarship for this season. The following players received scholarships today: guards Brett Herbert, Clement Angner, and centers Ben Griffin and Derek Beck. Personally, I think this is a great PR move for Knight. Those senior walk-ons deserve it for everything they’ve gone through the past few years. Good move by Knight. Let’s just see how things play out on the court now.


Remember, stay connected with the Big South Scoop for everything about the Big South Conference and all its affiliate members.

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The votes are in and have been counted. Without further ado here is the Coaches Poll for the 2024 Big South Conference Preseason Standings (with last seasons record in parenthesis)


1 Charleston Southern (15-14)

2 Radford (12-16)

3 High Point (22-12)

4 Presbyterian (14-15)

5 Gardner-Webb (18-13)

6 Longwood (12-17)

7 Campbell (11-17)

8 UNC-Asheville (8-19)

9 Winthrop (23-8)

10 Liberty (13-15)

11 Coastal Carolina (11-18)




“Coach Knight, the preseason conference standings were released today. We were picked to finish 10th. You’re going to be expected to comment on it today at your press conference.” Coach Henderson told me as he laid the standings on my desk.


“Thank you, coach.” I said as I looked through the preseason standings.




“Nobody wants to be picked to finished second-to-last.” I said as I addressed reporters about the standings. The whole press conference thing was beginning to become easier for me. “However, it shows that not much is thought of us. It gives us the perfect opportunity to surprise some people and hopefully change some minds about our program. Last season we had the No. 6 ranked defense in the Big South to go along with the No. 7 offense. If we continue to give up only 65 points a game we’ll be fine but we have to find a way to score more than 63 points a game.”


“Which team were you most surprised with their ranking in the preseason poll?”


“I’m a little surprised Gardner-Webb was picked fifth. They had the third-ranked offense and defense last season and they’re going to start five seniors this season. They’ll be a tough out every game.”


“Speaking of starters Coach Knight, have you determined who your starters are heading into the first game?”


“We have an idea as a staff right now which five guys will give us the best chance to compete and be successful, however that is an ongoing process and we are continually evaluating all of our guys in order to put together the best five starters we can. If we were to play Drake today our starting five would most likely be Brett Herbert, Tyler McColpin, Lee Ray, Derek Black, and Chris Blossom. Thank you for your time and questions today.”

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Turnovers Prove Costly in Knight’s First Game


LYNCHBURG | The Jeremy Knight era of Liberty basketball opened tonight with a 72-67 loss against visiting Drake. Nineteen Flames turnovers ultimately proved to be too much for Knight’s squad to overcome.


“We turned the ball over way too much, especially in the first half.” Knight said in reference to his teams 16 first half turnovers. “It seemed like every time we came down the court during the first half we were passing the ball into the stands or over guy’s heads. “However, I will say that I am proud of our guys for fighting back and only committing 3 turnovers in the second half.”


The amount of turnovers was just one of many things that led to Liberty finding itself in a 40-26 hole at the half. Freshman center Chris Blossom picked up his second foul just two and a half minutes into the game, forcing the Flames to play with just two post players. As a result, Drake scored 24 points in the paint during the first half.


“Having to pull Chris so early due to foul trouble definitely hurt us in the first half.” said Knight. “It forced us to play smaller than I would have liked throughout the half and they pounded us inside too.”


Despite all of the inefficiencies and struggles in the first half, Liberty put together a strong second half. During the second half it was the Flames that forced the Bulldogs into multiple turnovers and one shot possessions.


A steal and dunk by Dwayne Carr at the 4:44 mark cut the Drake lead to six, 62-56. During the following Bulldogs possession Jeremy Battier was able to grab a defensive rebound and Lee Ray was fouled attacking the basket, sending him to the line to shoot two and cut the lead to four with 3:57 left in the game.


Ray missed both free throws and Drake upped the lead to nine and sealed the victory.


One potentially bright spot was Blossom, who finished with eight points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of action. All of his foul issues aside, in the last minute alone Blossom threw down a thunderous dunk, drew a foul attacking the basket, and grabbed a rebound and hit Clement Angner for a buzzer beating three for the final deficit of five.


“Chris definitely did some good things during the game, and he definitely did some bad, freshman things. We’ll continue to work with him and develop him throughout the season. He’s definitely got a lot of potential.”


The Flames finished the game shooting 52.9% from the floor, but only made 64.7% of their free throws (11-of-17).


“Making our free throws is something we’re going to have to put more work into. To win games you have to make your layups and your free throws. We missed six of them tonight and lost by five. You can do the math.”


Senior Ben Griffin led the team with 12 points and five rebounds. Tony Marshall and Carr each scored 10 points. Marshall added four rebounds while Carr pulled down five, four of which were offensive rebounds.


“We definitely shot ourselves in the foot repeatedly tonight, and we have some things we need to correct this week in practice.’ said Knight, “however, I’m going to look at this game positively. The way we played in the second half was extremely positive and shows the level this team is capable of playing at throughout the season.”


The Flames (0-1) will have two days to work on correcting issues before playing at Portland on November 19th.

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Turnovers Doom Liberty Again

PORTLAND, ORE. | For the second consecutive game the Liberty Flames had an absurd amount of turnovers, this time in a 87-69 loss against the Portland Pilots (2-0). The Flames (0-2) committed 20 turnovers after having 19 three days ago in the season opener.


“Turnovers have definitely been the story of our short season so far.” said Liberty coach Jeremy Knight. “You make it very hard on yourself to win when you give up 20 turnovers and only force four.”


The Flames started off in a big hole, down 22-8 just seven minutes into the game. However, over the next seven minutes the Flames began a furious comeback, limiting the Pilots to one shot possessions. At the 6:18 mark in the first half Tony Marshall hit a three to cut the deficit to 31-21. Tyler McColpin stole the ensuing inbound pass (Portland’s only turnover of the half) and passed the ball to Clement Angner who made both free throws after being fouled to cut the lead to 31-23.


Two minutes later Ben Griffin made a free throw to finish off his and-one to trim the Portland lead to 31-26. On the following possession Angner went to the line to shoot two. After making the first Angner missed the second and Dereck Beck missed his putback attempt that would make the Flames deficit two.


“We spent a lot of energy to go on that run and get back in the game. It’s hard to make routine plays like free throws and putbacks when you have to spend all your energy and effort playing catch up.”


Liberty never got closer and the Pilots took a 40-33 lead into the half.


Portland began to pull away at the start of the second half, but Chris Blossom scored seven quick points to pull the Flames within seven at 47-40. Blossom finished the game with 23 points and four rebounds in 19 minutes.


“Chris definitely played one heck of a game. We need to continue to get this kind of production out of him every night while we work with him on his foul issues.”


Blossom’s effort ultimately ended in vain as the second half seemingly turned into a series of steals followed by oops on the other end. The Flames struggles was epitomize in a series of possessions where Portland’s Michael Selden, who scored a game high 27 points with seven assists and three steals, hit a three, stole the following inbound pass and set up Roy Crews for a monster oop.


The ensuing inbound pass was picked off by Jason Wilder and thrown down with authority, swinging the game from a 56-44 Portland lead to 63-44.


“Selden is just an incredible athlete.” Knight said of Portland’s best player. “We didn’t help ourselves at all with all of the turnovers and shooting 25 percent from three. We also let them shoot 56.9 percent from the floor. Not a very good combination when you’re going against a player like him.”


Top performers for Liberty were Beck with 12 points and seven rebound (four offensive), and Griffin with 10 points. Dwayne Carr and Marshall each scored nine points.


“I thought we actually played fairly well for the most part tonight, especially when we made that run in the first half. Again, it’s just really hard to be successful when you turn the ball over 20 times a game. We need to make changes and improve, but they’re not big changes or improvements we need to make. We just need to do the little things better here and there and we’ll come out on top.”


Coach Knight and Liberty will continue to seek their first win of the season when they host California-Riverside (2-0) November 23rd.

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Flames Handle Riverside for Knight’s First Win


LYNCHBURG | The Liberty Flames made plays when it needed to while picking up its first win of the season with a 79-70 victory over California-Riverside (2-1). The win is also the first in Flames coach Jeremy Knight’s career.


“It’s just amazing.” Knight said when asked to describe the feeling of his first victory. “It’s so great to finally get a win after playing so hard and coming up short the last two games.”


Turnover continued to plague to Flames (1-2) as they committed 18 of them. However, this time Liberty forced 16 turnovers while shooting 55.1 percent from the floor.


“The biggest difference between this game and the last is that we were able to force them into turnovers, me made our free throws and finished layups.”


A Tony Marshall putback at the 8:52 mark of the first half gave the Flames a 17-16 lead, their first lead in a game this season. The Flames held on to the lead until Jasper Robertson hit a three to give Riverside a 49-48 lead. Clement Angner answered on the following possession with a three of his own, to give Liberty a 51-49 lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game.


“It was nice to come out and execute our game plan.” Knight said. “We actually lead the majority of the game which is a testament to all of these guys. It seemed like we would have several stretches where a different player would step up and make a play. It was a total team effort tonight.”


Derek Beck led Liberty with 16 points off 7-of-7 shooting from the field. Chris Blossom continued his solid play of late, chipping in 11 points and three rebounds. Dwayne Carr finished with 10 points and six rebounds, three of which were offensive. Angner, Tyler McColpin, and Ben Griffin each scored eight points. Griffin also recorded seven rebounds. McColpin had the most complete game for the Flames with five assists and five steals to go along with his eight points.


“I don’t want to single one guy out because everyone stepped up and did their job tonight, but Tyler really did do a lot of great things for us tonight. He scored a few points, made some big steals, and when he did make mistakes he did a good job of moving on to the next play instead of letting his mistakes get to him. He also did a good job of making his free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The whole team did a good job of that.”


“This was a great game for us. We’re taking steps in the right direction.”


Liberty will hit the road for its next game and try to use its first win as a springboard to more success when they play Monmouth (1-2) on November 26th.

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Flames Comeback Falls Short


WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. | A furious comeback attempt in the second half fell just short of a victory as the Liberty Flames lost to host Monmouth, 74-66. The Flames (1-3) were faced with a 19-point deficit at the half, scrapped their way back into the game throughout the second half.


“I thought we did a good job of playing hard and never giving up,” Liberty coach Jeremy Knight said, “but we just can’t put ourselves in a position where we’re constantly having to fight back down 10, 15, or 20.”


Forward Lee Ray hit a 14-foot jumper with 4:35 left in the game to cut the Hawks lead to 62-58. On the ensuing possession Damian Keith stole a pass, but ultimately could not get control of the ball as he dribbled the ball out of bounds for the under 4:00 media timeout.


Out of the timeout, Monmouth big man Eikki Tuulari nailed a 17-foot jumped and Tyler Lyles stole the following inbound pass to set up Samuel Drayton for a dunk that pushed the Hawks lead to 66-58 with 3:39 left.


“We did a good job cutting the lead down to four. When you dig yourself into a deep hole like we did, your margin for error is slim to nonexistent and we ended up making a carless error that really killed any momentum we had at a comeback.”


A Chris Blossom dunk with 58 seconds left in the game cut the lead to four once again, 68-64, but Monmouth hit all of its free throws down the stretch the ice the game for the Hawks.


Turnovers were once again an issue for the Flames with 18 for the game. Guards Clement Angner and Tyler McColpin each had four turnovers and Dwayne Carr had five.


“Our guards definitely have to do a much better job taking care of the basketball. It’s been something we’ve struggled with in every game. I believe we’re either last or second-to-last in the conference in turnovers per game. If we can cut down our turnovers it will help immensely in the outcomes of these close games.”


Liberty also shot 35.4 percent from the floor in the first half. The Flames were able to score 21 second chance points in the second half to up their shooting percentage to 47.3 for the game.


“Our shots weren’t really falling at all in the first half, especially compared to the 65.4 percent they shot in the opening half. In the second half we really didn’t shoot much better from our initial shot attempts, guys were just hustling and fighting for offensive rebounds and that’s how we scored most of our points to get us back into the game.”


Ben Griffin finished the game as the leading scorer for Liberty with 15 points and seven rebounds. Four of Griffin’s rebounds were offensive rebounds. Blossom chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds. Carr scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Monmouth’s Tuulari tortured the Flames defense for 23 points and seven rebounds.


“We lost the game tonight, but we never stopped playing hard. I’ll take a team that never gives up and plays hard any day of the week. As long as we continue to play hard and correct some mistakes here and there, the wins will start coming.”


Liberty will now prepare for a cross country trip to play the Cal State-Northridge Matadors (2-2) on November 20th.

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Blossom’s Big Night Powers Flames To Win


NORTHRIDGE, CALIF. | Chris Blossom scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds in just 25 minutes to propel the Liberty Flames to a 90-81 road victory against the Cal State-Northridge Matadors.


“Chris was just incredible tonight.” Liberty coach Jeremy Knight said after the game. “I told him in the locker room that this will be a night he’ll remember forever. I just want there to be many more nights like this for him to remember with it.”


Fueled by Blossom’s career night the Flames (2-3) jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and never let up throughout the game. During the under 12:00 media timeout Liberty led the Matadors 20-9.


“Everything was just clicking tonight.” Knight said. “Our shots were falling. They struggled to make shots and when they missed we made sure we got the rebound to end their possession.’


The Flames destroyed the Matadors on the boards 36-17. Liberty once again committed a plethora of turnovers, 21, but everything else was going in the Flames favor.


“I don’t want to dismiss the turnovers, but when you outrebound your opponent by 20 and shoot 62 percent from the floor you can overcome those mistakes.”


Blossom and Derek Carr both converted and-one attempts to give the Flames a 43-28 lead that they would carry into the half. Liberty had to withstand a Cal State-Northridge comeback that cut the Flames lead to four, 70-66.


The Flames responded with a Russell Sneed steal that turned into a Tony Marshall dunk on the other end to give Liberty a six point lead with 5:53 left in the game.


When the lead was once again cut to four, 83-79, it was Blossom who stepped up with monstrous dunk followed by a steal that led to him being fouled and shooting two to seal the game.


“Tonight was just a special night. Our guys continued to play hard, like they have in every game so far, and tonight we were able to play some solid defense and took good shots on offense. We still have to get better, but tonight we proved even when we turn the ball over we can overcome those setbacks by playing hard and smart on both ends of the floor.


Tyler McColpin finish with 11 points, including four points off of free throws down the stretch. Ben Griffin scored nine points and Carr added seven points and nine rebounds.


The Flames now must prepare for a quick turnaround for a game on the opposite coast against Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-4) on December 3rd.

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Liberty Flames (2-3)














Chris Blossom........15.6 ppg...(5th in Big South)

Dwayen Carr...........6.6 rpg

Tyler McColpin........2.4 apg

Tyler McColpin........1.4 spg

Brett Herbert.........1.7 A/TO

Derek Beck............72.4 FG%...(2nd in Big South)



1.....High Point......................4-1






6.....Charleston Southern.........2-3



6.....Coastal Carolina...............2-3









6.....Mississippi State.........7-0


8.....Michigan State...........6-2









17...Oklahoma State........5-1

18...St. Bonaventure........6-2








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Liberty Flames Weekly Recap


Blossom Receives Another Award

Liberty big man Chris Blossom earned his second Big South Freshman of the Week honor this season after averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds. Blossom also scored a career-high 25 points in a road win against the Cal State-Northridge Matadors. Blossom currently leads the Flames in scoring with 15.6 points per game, which is also ranks fifth among all players in the Big South Conference.



Liberty (2-3) at Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-4)

This was a brutal game for the Flames. Four minutes into the game and Liberty already had five turnovers. At the half the Flames trailed 46-18 after shooting 38.9 percent from the field with 14 turnovers compared to UMES’s 58.8 field goal percentage and just two turnovers. Chris Blossom was held in check with just four points and two quick fouls in the first half. Liberty outscored the Hawks 40-27 in the second half, but never seriously threatened to make a run for the lead. The final score was Maryland-Eastern Shore 73, Liberty 58. The final turnover count was 21 for Liberty to 13 for UMES, which helped fuel the Flames second half run. Liberty also finished the evening shooting 53.3 percent from the floor compared to 51.6 percent for the Hawks. Blossom led the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds, his first career double-double and Derek Beck added 17 points off 8-of-10 shooting in just 18 minutes of action.


Later on in the evening after the Flames loss to UMES, fellow Big South member Charleston Southern knocked off Big Ten member Ohio State with a 79-59 victory. Granted, this isn’t the same Ohio State from a decade or two ago, but it still is impressive that the low-major program was able to dominate a high-major member by 20 points. Perhaps voters knew what they were doing when they elected the Buccaneers as the preseason favorite to win the Big South.



Liberty (2-4) at Eastern Illinois (3-2)

Chris Blossom got off to a fast start in this game, drawing a foul while lowering the hammer on the first possession of the game. During the first three minutes of action Blossom scored two points, had two rebounds, and even got a steal to energize a frustrated Flames squad. However, Liberty would not be able to keep the energy up and played a very sluggish first half against the Panthers. Brett Herbert drained a three at the buzzer to send send the Flames into the half with 27-24 lead. Liberty only made eight shots in the first half, but they were aggressive in getting to the rim and drawing fouls on Eastern Illinois. Liberty got to the free throw line 16 times in the first half, but only converted 10 shots. The sluggish but effective play during the first half for the Flames was nowhere to be seen in the second. Liberty only managed to get to the free throw line seven times and only made two of the attempts. A combination of turnovers, fouls, poor shots, and a non-aggressive playing style during the second half doomed the Flames. With 6:47 left in the game Liberty trailed by nine, 46-37, but would never get closer to taking the lead before falling to the final score of Eastern Illinois 70, Liberty 51. For the game Liberty committed 22 turnovers and shot 12-23 (52.2%) from the free throw line. The Flames also shot just 14.3 percent (1-for-7) from beyond the arc. Derek Beck was the leading scorer with 16 points and four rebounds in addition to three turnovers. Blossom scored 12 points with six rebounds before fouling out after playing 21 minutes. Ben Griffin added eight points for Liberty.


Looking Ahead

Liberty (2-5) will continue its long road trip non-conference schedule next week when it heads to New York to play Marist (4-4) on December 14 in its only game next week. Throughout the non-conference schedule the Flames inability to take care of the basketball has really hurt them. Chris Blossom has “blossomed” into a star of sorts for Liberty. The freshman is by far the Flames best player and a huge key to their success. However, his inability to play under control and not foul so often has really hurt him as far as playing time on the court and the team. When Blossom is on the floor the Flames appear to be able to hold their own with the majority of the teams they’ve played this season, even with all of the turnovers. During games when Blossom has stayed out of foul trouble he is capable of dominating the game, like he did against Cal State-Northridge. Clearly the key for the Flames moving forward is keeping Blossom out of foul trouble, and if they can cut down on a turnover or 10, they could potentially make some noise in the Big South as the season progresses.


Make sure to visit the page next week recapping the happenings of Liberty men’s basketball on and off the court. Don’t forget to check out the other weekly recap sections for each member of the Big South Conference. Stay up to date on the happenings of the Big South Conference and its affiliated members throughout the season here at The Big South Scoop.

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