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Flames Open Big South Play at UNC Asheville

January 11, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Men's hoops open Big South play at UNC Asheville on Saturday.

Men's hoops open Big South play at UNC Asheville on Saturday.

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Game Preview
Liberty kicks off its Big South Conference schedule for the second-straight season at UNC Asheville, early Saturday afternoon, inside the Justice Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday's contest will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Jamie Hall providing play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on LibertyFlames.com will be available. There will also be a live video stream of the broadcast via the Big South EDGE, available on BigSouthSports.com.

Liberty Update
The Flames enter Big South play on a two-game winning streak and fresh off a record-breaking 84-45 triumph over Kentucky Christian on Tuesday. Five records were matched or broken, including a Vines Center record 13 assists by TeeJay Bannister.

Liberty previously earned a 74-57 victory over Nyack on Jan. 5. Anthony Smith led Liberty with 21 points, while Alex McLean chipped in 18 points and 13 rebounds, good for his fifth double-double of the season and 17th of his career.

Prior to the current winning streak, Liberty suffered 72-64 setback at George Mason on Dec. 30. Anthony Smith tallied a career-high with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting against the Patriots. B.J. Jenkins chipped in 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Alex McLean tallied 16 points in the losing cause.

The last time Liberty stepped on the floor inside the Vines Center during 2007, the Flames recorded their fifth-straight home victory when Liberty topped Campbell on Dec. 28, 68-61. McLean led the Flames with 22 points and six rebounds.

Liberty versus UNC Asheville
Today's contest marks the 40th all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. UNC Asheville leads the series, 23-16. Liberty won the last meeting, 80-65, inside the Vines Center on Jan. 30, 2007. This game marks the sixth time that Liberty has opened up Big South Conference play against the Bulldogs. Today's game also is the second-straight Big South opener for the Flames inside the Justice Center. Liberty dropped last season's Big South opener, 84-77, after trailing by as many as 26.

All-Time Series Results
Jan. 30, 2007 W (80-65) Lynchburg
Jan. 6, 2007 L (77-84) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 6, 2006 L (81-83) * Lynchburg
Jan. 25, 2006 L (65-77) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 24, 2005 W (92-80) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 22, 2005 W (72-71) Lynchburg
Feb. 4, 2004 W (82-68) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 8, 2004 W (84-72) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 2003 W (73-72) Lynchburg
Jan. 5, 2003 L (80-81) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 2002 L (69-85) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 8, 2002 L (54-68) Lynchburg
Mar. 1, 2001 W (60-48) Roanoke, Va.
Feb. 10, 2001 L (54-73) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 23, 2001 L (52-59) Lynchburg
Mar. 2, 2000 L (63-77) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 2000 L (68-82) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 15, 2000 W (70-62) Lynchburg
Feb. 25, 1999 L (98-106) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 17, 1999 L (86-89) * Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 9, 1999 L (72-77) Lynchburg
Feb. 27, 1998 L (42-46) Lynchburg
Feb. 9, 1998 L (59-75) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 10, 1998 L (60-70) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 1997 L (65-68) ** Lynchburg
Jan. 11, 1997 L (55-64) Asheville, N.C.
Mar. 1, 1996 W (73-60) Lynchburg
Feb. 9, 1996 W (65-54) Lynchburg

Jan. 13, 1996 L (48-66) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 1995 L (67-73) * Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 12, 1995 L (46-57) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 1994 W (56-51) Lynchburg
Jan. 13, 1994 W (79-71) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 22, 1993 L (55-58) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 1, 1993 W (80-73) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 21, 1993 W (73-50) Lynchburg
Mar. 5, 1992 W (85-54) Anderson, S.C.

Feb. 10, 1992 L (77-82) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 23, 1992 W (90-76) Lynchburg

* - Overtime Game
** - Double Overtime Game

Current Flames With Notable Games Versus UNC Asheville
Alex McLean (13 points and seven rebounds vs. UNCA, Jan. 30, 2007)
Alex McLean (15 points and eight rebounds at UNCA, Jan. 6, 2007)
Anthony Smith(11 points on 4-of-5 shooting vs. UNCA, Jan. 30, 2007)
Anthony Smith (12 points, three rebounds at UNCA, Jan. 25, 2006)
Rell Porter (Six points, 10 rebounds vs. UNCA, Feb. 6, 2006)

McKay versus the Big South Conference
Head coach Ritchie McKay holds a 1-0 all-time record against current members of the Big South Conference. McKay's Lobo team at New Mexico defeated Charleston Southern, 76-69, last season.

Liberty In Big South Openers
Today's game marks the 17th Big South opener for the Flames. Liberty brings a 4-12 all-time record in Big South openers into the contest. The Flames have opened a conference season with UNC Asheville on five previous occasions, all resulting in Bulldog wins. UNCA is 3-0 inside the Vines Center and 2-0 inside the Justice Center against Liberty when opening Big South play.

Alex McLean Reaches 400 Career Rebounds
Alex McLean pulled down 17 rebounds on Tuesday to become the 23rd player in program history to reach the 400 career rebound milestone.

Alex McLean One of Three
Senior Alex McLean is one of three players in program history to reach 400-career rebounds (407) while only playing two seasons in the program.

McLean joins Jason Dixon (467) and Dan Kennard (471) as the only two-year letterwinners to reach the milestone. All other members of the 400-rebound club played at least three seasons on Liberty Mountain. Dixon and McLean are the only ones to accomplish the feat since Liberty's move to NCAA Division I.

Should McLean reach 500 career rebounds, he would become the only two-year letterwinner in program history to do so.

Five Records Matched or Broke Tuesday
Liberty matched or broke five records versus Kentucky Christian on Tuesday.
TeeJay Bannister broke Beau Wallace's Vines Center single-game record (12) for assists with 13.

Alex McLean matched his Vines Center record for rebounds (17), which he set against Lipscomb last season.

Liberty limited KCU to 15 second-half points, a Vines Center record for lowest output by an opponent in a half, breaking Averett's (16) mark in a December 1993 contest.

Liberty pulled down 59 rebounds, matching a Vines Center single-game record established against Averett in 1992.

Liberty also broke a Vines Center single-game record for defensive rebounds with 42, breaking the previous mark (37) set against Radford in 2002.

Alex McLean Reaches 700 Career Points
Alex McLean became the 29th player in program history to reach 700 career points when he tallied 16 points on Tuesday. McLean became the second Flame to reach the 700-point plateau this season, following Anthony Smith, who did so against Longwood on Nov. 27.

Non-Conference Wins
Liberty enters Big South play with eight wins, the most since the 1999-2000 team collected 10 non-conference victories. Liberty enters Big South play with a winning record for the first time since the 2001 team took a 7-5 record into league play.

Anthony Smith Reaches 800 Career Points
With a career-high 24 points at George Mason on Dec. 30, Anthony Smith became the 23rd player in Liberty history and only the eighth in the Division I era to score 800-career points. Smith currently has 845 markers in his career.

Anthony Smith Eyes 900 Career Points
Anthony Smith currently needs 55 points to become the 20th player in program history, and the ninth since Liberty moved to Division I, to score 900 career points. Every player in program history who has scored at least 900 career points went on to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Next on the Scoring List for Anthony Smith
With 845 career points, Anthony Smith sits 21st all-time in Liberty annals for scoring, passing Brad Hamersley and Mark Reed with his 20 point performance on Tuesday. Next on the list is Gabe Martin, who owns the 20th spot on Liberty's career scoring list. Martin was a two-year letterwinner from 2003-04.

TeeJay Bannister Reaches 300 Career Assists
After dishing out eight assists against Campbell on Dec. 28, TeeJay Bannister reached the 300 career assist mark. Bannister dished out another five assists at George Mason on Dec. 30 and 10 more on Jan. 5 against Nyack, before setting a new personal best with 13 against Kentucky Christian, giving the senior 334 assists during his collegiate career. Bannister registered 238 during his three years at Virginia. The senior currently has 96 helpers for the Flames this season.

Liberty Undefeated at Home
Liberty is currently 7-0 at home this season in non-conference contests.
With no remaining home non-conference games, the Flames went undefeated
in home non-conference games for the first time since the 1995-96 season. That season, Liberty went 4-0 at home during the non-conferenceportion of its schedule.
Since moving to the NCAA Division I level, Liberty has never gone undefeated
at home during a non-conference slate when playing more than four non-conference contests.

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.