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Blair Sets Record, McLean Scores 40 Points And Grabs 19 Rebounds In Liberty's 118-108 Victory Over VMI

February 21, 2007
|  Lexington, Va.
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Larry Blair on his way to dunking in his record-breaking point.

Larry Blair on his way to dunking in his record-breaking point.

Larry Blair notched his place in Big South history as he scored 28 points, passing Tony Dunkin for the conference's all-time scoring record, as the Liberty Flames (13-16, 7-6 Big South) cinched home court advantage in the first round for the Big South Championship, topping the VMI Keydets (12-17, 5-8 Big South) on Wednesday night at Cameron Hall, 118-108. 

The victory served as only the second time and first since December 7, 1991, that the Flames were victorious at VMI. In 1991, Liberty beat the Keydets, 64-55. Coming into the game, the Flames had dropped 25 of their last 26 road games. 

The fast pace play which has become the trademark of VMI Basketball started out with the Flames taking a slight 14-10 advantage when Anthony Smith took a Dwight Brewington pass to the hoop at the 16:44 mark. 

The Flames then exploded, outscoring the Keydets, 33-13, capped by a B.J. Jenkins bucket from the side at 6:36 to give Liberty a 47-23 lead. During the span, history was made as Larry Blair got the ball on transition from Smith and put an explanation point on breaking the Big South scoring record with a dunk with 11:19 remaining in the half.
The bucket pushed the senior guard pass Tony Dunkin of Coastal Carolina (2,151) for the all-time scoring title. 

The Keydets, however, rallied to close out the period on a 26-11 run. Reggie Williams' bucket at the buzzer cut the Flames' advantage to 58-49. 

Alex McLean recorded his eleventh double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the opening period. Blair scored 15 points and Brewington chipped in 10 points and five assists as Liberty shot 69.7 percent from the floor on 22-of-33 shooting.
VMI was limited to 34.9 percent on 15-of-43 shooting and were outrebounded by the Flames 30-12. 

Liberty opened up the second half on a 12-3 run on the heels of a McLean dunk off a pass from Smith, 3:28 into the final stanza as the Flames ran out to a 70-52 advantage.
The Keydets bounced back, spurred by a 20-6 outburst, which was completed with an old-fashioned three-point play by Williams with 12:44 remaining in the contest. The burst cut the Flames' lead to 76-72. 

Liberty extended their advantage to 96-84 on a 20-12 run, but the Runnin' Roos once again cut into the Liberty lead and made it, 106-100, on a William's three-point basket.
The six-point gap was as close as VMI would get as the Flames closed out the contest, outscoring the Keydets, 12-8, the rest of the way as Blair hit four-straight free throws to seal the win. 

Liberty shot 64.4 percent from the floor on 47-of-73 shooting. The Flames also held the advantage in rebounding by a large, 61-22 margin. The Flames' 46 defensive rebounds broke a school record of 43, which Liberty collected against Mount St. Mary's on Jan. 30, 1988. 

McLean scored a career-high 40 points on 16-of-22 shooting and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. The forward was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity strip. Blair scored 28 points on his historic night, on 10-of-17 shooting, while grabbing seven rebounds, dishing five assists and notching three steals. 

Brewington came close to earning a triple-double as he finished with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing seven assists. Brewington also blocked two shots. Smith was the fourth and final Flame in double figures as he notched his second career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 assists with only one turnover. 

The game also served as Blair's 50th-straight double figure scoring game and was his 120th career game which ties the Big South record.

Liberty, the Big South's leading free throw shooting team, was strong from the charity stripe, hitting 20-of-23 shots for 87.0 percent. 

VMI was led by Williams who scored 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting. Blair's cousin, Chavis Holmes scored 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Fred Robinson added 19 points in the loss. The Keydets shot better in the second half finishing at 41.7 percent on 35-of-84 shooting. 

Williams set the VMI all-time record for points in a season and career 30-point games with his effort against the Flames. 

Liberty concludes the regular season at intra-state rival Radford on Saturday. Tip is set for 4 p.m. at the Dedmon Center.