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Bannister's 15 Assists Pace Liberty's Victory

January 21, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Rell Porter scores two points off one of TeeJay Bannister's record 15 assists on Monday night.

Rell Porter scores two points off one of TeeJay Bannister's record 15 assists on Monday night.

TeeJay Bannister dished out 15 assists and Alex McLean collected his seventh double-double, as the Liberty Flames cruised to a 78-59 victory, Monday night, over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, inside the Vines Center.

Bannister's 15 assists breaks his own Vines Center record of 13, set on Jan. 8 agaisnt Kentucky Christian. The mark matched a Liberty NCAA Division I record also set by Matt Hildebrand at Winthrop on Jan. 13, 1993. Also during the contest, Anthony Smith became the 20th player in Liberty history to reach the 900 career-point plateau.

The win serves as Liberty's second consecutive overall and ninth straight at home, pushing the team's record to 10-9 and 2-2 in Big South Conference action. Coastal Carolina drops to 9-8 and 2-2 in league play.

Liberty struck early when Anthony Smith stuck a three-point bucket 13 seconds into the game, staking the Flames to the early 3-0 lead.

Coastal Carolina cut the Flames' lead to one, 5-4, after a Phil Wallace bucket in the paint at 17:46. Liberty extended its lead to 21-11, courtesy of a 16-7 spurt, capped by a B.J. Jenkins bucket at 10:32. During the surge, Jenkins hit a three-point bucket from the wing at 16:44, extending the lead to four, 10-6, at the time. Steven Sexton fouled Jenkins on the play, sending the Liberty guard to the line for one free throw, which Jenkins sank for the four-point play.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., crowd surfs during Liberty's 78-59 victory over Coastal Carolina on Monday night.

A three-point bucket by Jeremy Anderson at 8:02 and two free throws by Alex McLean extended the Liberty lead to 15, 28-13, with 7:13 left in the first stanza. The Chanticleers quickly bounced back, cutting the Liberty lead to eight, 28-20, after an old-fashioned three-point play by Phil Wallace at 3:56.

The Chanticleers trimmed the Flames' lead down to five at the break, 34-29, after six-straight points, which included a Wallace bucket and two makes from the charity stripe by Logan Johnson.

Liberty connected on 44.4 percent (12-of-27) of its shots from the floor, including 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from three-point range during the first half. Coastal Carolina was successful on 39.3 percent (11-of-28) of its shots, including 33.3 percent (2-of-6) from three-point range during the opening 20 minutes.

Liberty outrebounded Coastal Carolina, 18-14, while the Chanticleers forced Liberty to turnover the ball seven times, versus three of its own.

After Wallace scored on Coastal Carolina's first possession of the second stanza to cut Liberty's lead to three, 34-31, at the 19:36 mark, Liberty went on an 8-0 run. The surge pushed the lead back up to 11 points, 42-31, courtesy of a McLean bucket at the 17:47 mark.

Two Jack Leasure free throws, at 17:33, cut the lead down to single digits, 42-33, but Liberty went on a 17-10 spurt. The run extended its lead to 18 points, 61-43, via an Anderson three-point bucket at 10:32.

During the remainder of the contest, the score never got closer then 14 points, as Liberty cruised to the 19-point victory, 78-59.

Liberty shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the floor in the second half, finishing the contest hitting 52.9 percent (27-of-51) from the floor. The Flames also hit 48.0 percent (12-of-25) from three-point range.

Coastal Carolina mirrored its first half shooting, 11-of-28 from the field in the second half to finish at 39.3 percent (22-of-56) shooting. The Chanticleers connected on 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from three-point range.

McLean led the way with game highs with 22 points and 12 rebounds, marking his seventh double-double of the season. Smith finished with 15 points on the night to become the 20th player in Liberty history to eclipse the 900-point plateau. Bannister finished with three points to complement his record 15 assists. Jenkins chipped in with 11 points in the win.

Everage Richardson led the Chanticleers with 14 points off the bench, while pulling down seven caroms. Wallace chipped in with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while Johnson added 12 points and five rebounds in the losing cause.

Leasure, who ranks No. 8 nationally in three-point shooting (48.7), was held scoreless from long range and only managed four points on the night on 1-of-7 shooting. Leasure came into the game on fire, tallying 33 points on Saturday at High Point.

Liberty concludes its three-game homestand on Saturday, when the High Point Panthers enter the Vines Center, Tip-off is schedule for 9 p.m., to accommodate the television broadcast by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). Coastal Carolina heads to Winthrop on Saturday, tip off is set for 7 p.m., and will be broadcasted on SportsSouth.