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Men's Hoops Host Niagara Tonight
Liberty continues a three-game homestand when the Niagara Purple Eagles enter the confines of the Vines Center on Saturday evening. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Tonight's contest is the return trip from last season's O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters game when the two teams faced off against in Niagara, N.Y. As part of the contract, Big South officials worked the contest in Niagara last season. In compliance with the contract, tonight's game will feature officials from Niagara's conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
Saturday's contest will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Jerry Edwards providing play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on LibertyFlames.com will be available. The game will be televised on the Flames Television Network (Liberty Channel) with Ray Jones and Tim Scarborough calling the action. Samantha Steele will report from the sidelines. Additionally, an Internet video webcast on the BigSouthSports.com will be available (a Big South EDGE subscription is required).
Liberty enters tonight's contest on the heels of an impressive 91-67 home victory over Longwood on Tuesday. Alex McLean tallied a season-high 33 points, a national high for the day, while pulling down 11 rebounds for his third double-double this season.
The Flames entered the Longwood game coming off an 80-54 setback at Kentucky on Nov. 21. The Wildcats extended a close first half lead to a comfortable advantage in the second stanza. McLean led Liberty with 15 points and five rebounds. Anthony Smith chipped in 10 points, while TeeJay Bannister dished out a game-high nine assists in the losing cause.
Liberty versus Niagara
Tonight's contest is the second all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. Niagara leads the series, 1-0. The lone contest took place last season as part of the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters. The Purple Eagles came out on the positive end with a 90-81 victory. The game was played inside the Gallagher Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
All-Time Series Results
Feb. 17, 2007 L (81-90) Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Current Flames With Notable Games Versus Niagara
Alex McLean (17 points and six rebounds at Niagara, Feb. 17, 2007)
Anthony Smith (15 points and five rebounds at Niagara, Feb. 17, 2007)
McKay vs. the MAAC
Tonight marks the first time head coach Ritchie McKay has faced a current member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Liberty vs. the MAAC
The Flames are 2-5 all-time against the current members of the MAAC. Their most recent victory came during the 2005-06 season, when Liberty won at Marist, 69-67. Liberty's other victory over a member of the MAAC was on Nov. 27, 2003, when the Flames defeated Canisius in the Great Alaska Shootout. The last MAAC member to play inside the Vines Center was Marist on Jan. 10, 2006. The Red Foxes topped the
Niagara Following Longwood
The only other time Liberty faced Niagara was following a contest with Longwood. Last season, Liberty played at Longwood, followed by a contest at Niagara two days later, both games resulted in losses for the Flames. On Tuesday, Liberty hosted Longwood, winning 91-67. Tonight the Flames play host to Niagara.
Alex McLean and His Three-Point Shot
Alex McLean has three career three-point field goals. All three buckets have come at Longwood's expense. McLean has gone 1-of-1 from behind the arc in each of his three appearances against the Lancers.
Alex McLean Scores 30
Alex McLean's 33 points on Tuesday against Longwood tied for the sixth-best scoring performance by a Flame inside the Vines Center. His performance matched former teammate Larry Blair's output against UNC Asheville on Feb. 6, 2006.
Matching a Record
Anthony Smith tied a Vines Center record with his seven three-point field goals against Longwood on Tuesday. Smith matched former teammate Larry Blair, who set the mark when he made seven against High Point on March 6, 2004.
Anthony Smith Sets Another Record
Anthony Smith set a Big South single-game record shooting 87.5 percent from three-point range versus Longwood (7-of-8) on Tuesday. The conference record is based on a minimum seven three-point field goals made.
Liberty Honors Dr. Falwell Inside the Vines Center
In its continuing efforts to honor Dr. Jerry Falwell, the Liberty athletics department unveiled a new memorial to the University's founder and former chancellor.
During Wednesday's Convocation, inside the Vines Center, Liberty's Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced that the number 71 will hang from the rafters on a jersey to signify Dr. Falwell's impact on Liberty University and its athletics department.
The honoring of Dr. Falwell's thumbprint on the athletics department began before the passing of the renowned visionary. During Homecoming 2006, Liberty retired the first ever football jersey in Dr. Falwell's honor. After Dr. Falwell's passing, a new tradition began with the start of the 2007 football season. Prior to the start of every home football game, a giant flag with the number 71 is hoisted up the flagpole in a mini-pregame ceremony. The number 71 signifies the year, 1971, when Liberty first opened its doors.
Wednesday's ceremony took place prior to the featured Convocation speaker, Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Packing Them In
There were 21,298 fans that attended the Nov. 21 contest at Kentucky, marking the second-highest attended Liberty men's basketball game. When Liberty last played in the Rupp Arena, 22,717 fans attended the contest, marking the largest crowd to ever witness a Liberty men's basketball game.
The previous record was 19,718 when the Flames faced North Carolina in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament. That game was played in the USAir Arena in Landover, Md.
Anthony Smith Reaches 700-Career Points
Junior Anthony Smith became the 28th player in Liberty history to score 700 career points when he tallied 23 points against Longwood on Tuesday. Smith currently has 721 career markers.