Vanderbilt Basketball Hosts Liberty Saturday

Greg Arias

The Vanderbilt Commodores men's basketball team is off to a good start, currently 6-2 on the young season. They host the  11-0 Liberty Flames on Saturday night at Memorial Gym in a game the Commodores need to win. 

There are currently five undefeated teams remaining, Auburn, Duquesne, Ohio State,  San Diego State, & Liberty. According to the ESPN Bracket Predictor (ESPN.com/bpi) the FLames have the best chance to reamin undefeated the rest of the way. 

For the Commodores, they enter the game off an eleven day break since their last game. That means the team should be well rested and ready to go when they take to the floor Saturday against a very solid, team oriented group from Liberty.    

Their opponents by contrast played December, 8th, defeating Grand Canyon University 71-60 to remain undefeated.  

The two teams have one common opponenet, both having defeated South Carolina State, with Liberty winning 65-39 while Vanderbilt defeated the Bulldogs 97-60. 

The Flames are an interesting team when you look inside their numbers from their eleven wins to this point. Here are some of the key stats from head coach Ritchie McKay's squad. 

LIBERTY BY THE NUMBERS

Leading Scorer: Unlike the Commdores, who have been led in scoring more often than not by Aaron Nesmith who averages over 20 points per game,  the Flames leading scorer, Caleb Homesley averages just 11.4 points per game.  

While Homesley leads them in average points per game, he has been their leading scorer in just three of their eleven games so far.  

Scottie James, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz and Kyle Rode have each led them in scoring in two games while Darius McGhee and Elijah Cuffee have each led once. 

The Flames have a talented, balance squad, who doesn't have a dynamic scorer but plays solid, team basketball.  

Assists Per Game: Homesley leads the Flames, dishing out 2.6 assists per game for a team that shares the basketball to the tune of 14.3 assists per contest. 

Rebounds Per Game: Scottie James leads the Flames on the boards, averging 7.6 per game. 

Minutes Per Game: The Flames possess a deep bench, having nine players who average 10 or more minutes per contest, lead by McGee, Pacheco-Ortiz, Rode and Homesley and Cuffee all averaging over 20 minutes per contest.  

TEAM STATS  

Points Per Game: 72.4 

Points Allowed Per Game 49.6

Rebounds Per Game 36.6

Assists Per Game 14.3

In looking at the numbers, it's clear that Homesley is the leader of this team, but he has help and this team will share the basketball. 

Jerry Stackhouse and his improving squad will have their hands full against the Flames, but this is a winnable contest for the Commodores if they can bring the offense that has rolled up 80 or more points in five of their six victories this season. 

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