In its opening game this season, the Liberty men’s basketball team had two starters sidelined with injuries and lost by 42 points.
Then things got really bleak.
The team’s best returning player was ruled out for the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Two others in the playing rotation quit the team. And Liberty, the Christian institution founded by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Va., lost its next seven games.
“It was doom and gloom,” said Liberty Coach Dale Layer, describing the team’s mood with an 0-8 record. “But I told the players that if we held out hope and kept it together day by day, we still had a chance. I said, ‘Trust me, in this sport, if you play well at the end of the year, that’s all that matters.’ "