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Liberty coach used an In-N-Out trip as motivation in NCAA tournament win

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Coaches routinely promise players things in big moments during games, as an extra incentive to pull out a win.

So when No. 12 Liberty had fallen into a 10-point hole against No. 5 Mississippi State late on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Liberty coach Ritchie McKay called a timeout and pulled something out of his back pocket: In-N-Out.

“I said, ‘If we come back, we’ll go to In-N-Out burger,’” McKay said.

Honestly, that’s a pretty great promise — especially for a school based on the East Coast which doesn’t have regular access to one of the best fast-food joints in the country.

And, well, it worked. Liberty stormed back to knock off the Bulldogs 80-76 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, marking one of the first great upsets of the tournament and the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament win.

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So while the players basked in both the win and their late-night dinner — Liberty forward Myo Baxter-Bell sounds ecstatic that he got a “Double-Double” — McKay skipped the trip to the iconic West Coast staple with his team.

He went right back to the hotel.

“When you are my weight and my body fat, you get exempted from opportunities like that,’’ McKay said, via USA Today. “But I think the players enjoyed it, and yeah, it was good. They need to have a little fun once in a while.’’

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