MBI Quotes – Liberty 71, Vermont 61

Liberty Coach Ritchie McKay – “Really proud of our group. That’s a great win. I have a ton of admiration for [Vermont Head Coach] John Becker and the Catamounts… They’ve got a heck of a program so that’s a really quality win for our group. The best thing about it was there was a lot of adversity during the game that we had to experience and we had to respond the right way and I thought we did so.” (On the overall experience at the Myrtle Beach Invitational) “I think it’s a privilege to play in any of the ESPN Events. We’ve done a couple now and the hospitality from the staff at Coastal Carolina and the different event planners has been first class. This is an invite that if we ever get again we’ll be jumping for joy. I loved not just the competition because it helped our program get a lot better but the sincerity and the friendliness and the excellence that was poured into this event, it was special.” (On different guys stepping up) “ I definitely think we’ve got some versatility both offensively and defensively. When you combine that with the selflessness that they play with I think we’re usually a tough out. I will say this, this is game five. It’s November 19th. We have a lot of room for improvement. I love the start that we’ve had because the competition was stiff. I think it’s always good for your team to play against really well coached teams that have a lot of talent and ability and we did that. I hate being outcome based. I’m excited we won and we’re taking home a trophy but I think there’s more for this group and we’ll need a little more consistency and a little more depth to develop in order to make a run at this thing. Happy where we are. Certainly content from a standpoint of our record, but I know we have a lot of improvement.” 

Liberty Forward Kyle Rode – (On getting behind early) “When you’re playing a team like and some of the looks are hitting early and we’re turning the ball over a little too much. We just had to settle down and I felt like we did a really good job. We had a group that made a really big run for us and it’s a game of runs.”

Liberty Forward Zach Cleveland – (On his career-high 21 points) “I think it’s not much different than what we do everyday. I think that’s what’s special about our group is that it can be a different guy. Zero points in the last game and I was just as happy about the win. Tonight, the matchups were favoring my way so I took advantage of it.”
Vermont Coach John Becker – “Really hard fought loss tonight to a really good Liberty team that deserves all the credit. I thought our guys battled. They [Liberty] just made the plays down the stretch and they were great defensively and got timely scoring. [Zach] Cleveland was really good. [Brody] Peebles made some shots and [Kaden] Metheny made a big driving layup late. It’s early and this is why we play in this tournament. It’s been a great experience this week, I’m really proud of our team. I’d like to thank the Myrtle Beach people and ESPN for inviting us to this event. It’s really been great for us and our fans. We’ll walk out of here heads held high with a lot to learn. That’s why we play in these types of tournaments, why we play this type of non-conference schedule. It’s to learn about ourselves and we learned a lot about ourselves and what we need to get better at. Some better execution offensively down the stretch and free throw shooting. All the credit should go to Liberty. They’re a really good team, really well coached and a top-50 program, one of the best mid-major programs in the country. I thought it was a really good battle. Two really good, well coached teams. Two teams that play really hard, play the right way and they made more plays tonight. Credit to them.” (On it being a fun game to watch) “Not that fun when you’re on the sideline. I’m glad it was a fun game to watch and that’s what I was hoping for and expected. Two really good teams that are really well coached. You hope it’s an entertaining game, especially in a championship game. It was back and forth and it was a couple possession game for most of the game until the end there. I don’t think we scored a basket in the last four minutes. Those are things that we’ll think about tonight. Those are two of the best mid-major teams in the country and for the most part, it lived up to that.”