MBI Quotes – Liberty 88, Furman 74

Liberty Coach Ritchie McKay – “Very grateful for this win. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for [Furman Head] Coach [Bob] Richey, their staff and what they’ve done as a program. They are really good. It felt like we had a really good win tonight. I think we got a chance to keep improving because of the quality of the opponent. I think we were really tested.” (On what changed in the second half) “I think its-’s characteristic of our group. On the offensive end, they’re so unselfish. Typically, we’ll get a great shot. We had some average to decent looks that didn’t go in at the beginning, but I think towards the end of the first half we reeled it in a little bit, saw a couple go in and got a little more intentional about the other end. You can’t rest against Furman, you just can’t. They have too many good players and their actions are too sound. If you rest, you’re gonna get scored on. I think we did a little better job. I also think [guard] Kaden Metheny helps us on the offensive end. We had to kind of hold him a little bit with the two fouls in the first. Those were some of the reasons why I think we got in a little bit of a groove.’ (On closing out the first half and starting the second half strong) “I think anytime you can finish a half and start one well, your team carries a little momentum into the locker room and it sets a tone for the next half. Because of the quality of opponent, I’m pleased with the victory, and we got a quick turnaround for the next one.” (On defending) “ During the course of a game, you just try to feel the rhythm of it and who’s playing well, what combinations are in there together. We always want to have a defensive mindset. Against Furman you have to. It’ll be another huge challenge tomorrow with Wichita State’s size and athleticism. I believe in our guys. We got a good group. They play for one another and they’re unselfish on both ends. I think there’s a defensive unselfishness that’s never really talked about, but I think our guys have it.”

Liberty Forward Zach Cleveland – (On ending the first half well and starting the second half strong) “I think early on we had some decent looks that just weren’t falling. That’s where you just got to trust in your defense and that’s what we did. When you get stops, it kind of carries out and helps you stay in the game when you’re not scoring. We just trusted in our defense and eventually we got some buckets to go in.”

Liberty Guard Kaden Metheny – (On the veteran presence on the team) – “When you talk about [Forward] Kyle Rode and [Forward[ Shiloh Robinson, five-year guys in this program, man, they’re the best leaders I’ve ever been around in my life. When they’re on the court, even on the bench, they bring some sort of comfort just having them there. We know how much they mean to this program and this season, we’re playing for them. They’ve done their five years in this program. It’s amazing. When we’re playing with them, it doesn’t matter how much we’re down, how much we’re up, we know we got them to lead us.”

Furman Coach Bob Richey – “First of all, I’ll give a lot of credit to Liberty. I’ve known [Liberty Head] Coach [Ritchie] McKay for a long time since I was an assistant at Charleston Southern and his first tenure at Liberty and he’s always been somebody I have a high level of respect for and I thought they played fantastic tonight. I thought the game was back-and-forth and had the feeling of a good heavyweight for a second there, and they made a run right before half. I think we were up six and they went on an 11-0 run and I felt like they kind of carried that momentum into the second half. Unfortunately, our defense in the second half just wasn’t near what it was in the first half and you got to give them a lot of credit for that. They got 18 assists and we were able to only turn them over eight times. I thought they moved the ball well. I thought they played really, really connected. It wasn’t all bad for us. I thought there were some bright spots. I thought we played really, really well for about the first 17 minutes of the game. We’ve noticed in the season so far we’ve got to figure out a way to put 40 together with our defensive intensity, and we’ll learn from this.” (On not having Forward Tyrese Hughey) “Tyrese is out, Alex [Williams] is out but that’s no excuse, we have enough. We like playing nine or more but we had what we had tonight, and that wasn’t the reason we lost the game. We got eight really good players that played and we didn’t have the defensive connection or effort and intensity that we need to have in a big game like that for a 40-minute period.”