CONWAY, S.C. (Nov. 18, 2023) – The Liberty Flames and the Vermont Catamounts have sent in their RSVPs for the championship game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The teams successfully navigated the first two rounds of the annual tournament and will now meet for the title at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday in a game to be broadcast on ESPN2.
“It’s the Myrtle Beach Invitational, so you have to be invited,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay. “It’s a privilege to be invited to one of these ESPN events.”
Vermont coach John Becker agreed. He said simply playing in an early-season tournament like the MBI is beneficial in itself, and competing for the championship makes it even better.
“We’re real excited. This is what we came down here to do,” Becker said. “We’ll have our hands full on Sunday, but this is great as a coach. It’s great to play this level of competition. These experiences are invaluable as you try to build a team.”
The Flames advanced to the championship game by defeating Furman in the opening round 88-74, followed by an 83-66 win over Wichita State in the semifinals. Kyle Rode has averaged 25 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the tournament, and Brody Peebles and Kaden Metheny have contributed 13.5 ppg each. In addition, Colin Porter is averaging 5.5 assists per game, tied for tops in the tournament.
Vermont made it to the title game by beating College of Charleston 73-64 and Saint Louis 78-68. TJ Long has led the way with 15 ppg and 5.5 rpg, and Shamir Bouges has added 12.5 ppg (on 55 percent shooting) and 5.0. rpg.
“I just like watching Vermont play,” McKay said. “John Becker has to be one of the most underrated coaches in America. He’s as good as anybody. I love the way his team plays, and I love the way our team plays. This tournament is only going to help us down the road.”
Sunday’s final-round action begins at 10:30 a.m. ET with Wyoming taking on Furman, followed by College of Charleston vs. Coastal Carolina at 1 p.m. Then after the championship match, the 2023 Myrtle Beach Invitational will conclude with the third-place game between Saint Louis and Wichita State at 8 p.m.