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MBB Game Day Central: No. 19 Texas A&M

November 8, 2011
|  College Station, Texas
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Chene Phillips and the Flames take on No. 19 Texas A&M, Wednesday, in College Station, Texas. The contest will air at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN FullCourt and ESPN3.com.

Game Day Central Page
Note: Includes all important Game Day links (Live Stats, Live Video, Live Audio, etc.)

Game Notes:
Texas A&M Games Notes

Television Coverage:

Fox Sports Southwest – Regional Coverage
(Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas)
Game Will be Carried Live

Radio Coverage:
Provided by the Flames Sports Network

Broadcast - Tip-Off:
8:06 p.m. (EST) vs. No. 19 Texas A&M

Flagship Station:
Victory FM (88.3 FM WRVL)

Network Affiliates:
Full List of Victory FM Network Affiliates

The Game
Liberty heads to College Station, Texas on Wednesday to take on No. 19 Texas A&M in the regional round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The contest marks the first time the Flames have squared off with the Aggies and the seventh meeting against a current Big 12 squad.

Liberty is looking for its first win against a Big 12 school, as it is currently 0-6 against members of the conference. Tip-off against the Aggies inside Reed Arena is slated for 8 p.m. (EST).

Watch the Flames
Wednesday's contest will be televised on FOX Sports Southwest and aired on ESPN FullCourt and ESPN3.com.

There will be a Flames Sports Network radio broadcast (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Alan York providing the play-by-play. In addition to the radio broadcast, an Internet audio broadcast on LibertyFlames.com will be available.

Liberty in Season Openers
The Flames enter Wednesday's contest with a 20-19 record in season openers. However in season openers away from its home turf, Liberty is 3-16.

Fast Break: Liberty/Texas A&M
- Wednesday's contest marks the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Texas A&M.

- The matchup is also the first time head coach Dale Layer has ever coached against a Texas A&M squad.

- Liberty's participation in the 2K Sports Classic, marks the first time it has ever competed in a Coaches vs. Cancer event.

- In addition to playing the College Station Regional, the Flames will serve as the host site for the Lynchburg Subregional, Nov. 18-20. During the three-day event, Liberty will square off with Eastern Kentucky, Lehigh and William & Mary.

- Last season, both squads ranked in the Top 25 in rebounding margin. Texas A&M finished 19th (+ 6.2), while the Flames were ranked No. 21 (+ 5.8).

- Assistant coach Jason Eaker brings Big 12 experience to the Flames' coaching staff, having served as a grad assistant under Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma.

- The 2011-12 Flames roster features three Texas natives. Guards Jesse and John Caleb Sanders hail from Sugar Land, Texas, while forward Stephen Baird is from San Antonio.

- Texas A&M has faced one other current Big South school in program histroy, defeating Winthrop, 71-51 on Jan. 2, 2007. A&M reached the Sweet 16 that year.

2010-11 Season Highlights
- The Flames went 13-5 in Big South play during the 2010-11 season, setting a new program record for most conference wins in a season.

- Dale Layer was named Liberty's first-ever Big South Coach of the Year last season, leading the Flames to a second-place finish in conference play. Layer picked up his 300th career coaching win against 2011 Big South champion UNC Asheville on Jan. 27, as the Flames defeated the Bulldogs in the Vines Center courtesy of a buzzer-beating layup in overtime, 83-81.

- Point guard Jesse Sanders was the first Flame ever to be tabbed Big South Player of the Year and earn honorable mention AP All-America recognition, averaging 11.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Sanders needs 177 assists this season to break school record of 648 held by Karl Hess. The Sugar Land, Texas native is also on pace to become the 22nd member of Liberty's 1,000-point club.

Liberty ushers in a quality recruiting class this season, including junior college All-American Tavares Speaks and Tomasz Gielo, who was a member of the Polish national team during the 2011 U19 FIBA World Championships in Riga, Latvia.

Home Improvement
The Flames closed out the 2010-11 season with a 12-4 (.750) record  in the Vines Center. The mark is a vast improvement after the Flames finished 8-6 (.571) inside the facility during the 2009-10 campaign. Liberty's lowest winning percentage inside the Vines Center occurred during the 1990-91 season, when the Flames went 3-8 (.375) during home games. The following season, Liberty turned things around, finishing the season 14-1 at home and claiming its best winning percentage in the Vines Center (.933).

Injury Report
The Flames will be without redshirt senior guard John Brown and forward Sommy Ogukwe as both suffered season-ending injuries during the preseason.

Brown started all 32 contests for the Flames during the 2010-11 campaign and was named to the Big South All-Conference second team. The 6-4 guard was ranked No. 8 in the country and led the conference in rebounds, pulling down 10.8 boards per game. Along with his rebounding efforts, Brown was also the Flames' second-leading scorer (11.3 ppg) and finished the year with 14 double-doubles.

Ogukwe appeared in 30 contests for the Flames last season, starting in games against Notre Dame (Nov. 14) and UNC Wilmington (Nov. 16). The Abuja, Nigeria native was a key reserve for Layer's squad, finishing second on team in blocked shots with 22.

New Assistant Coach
On Oct. 14, Liberty Men's Basketball Head Coach Dale Layer announced the promotion of Matt Olinger to assistant coach. Olinger takes over for Myron Guillory, who recently resigned to pursue other career opportunities.

Olinger is in his eighth year with the program, having previously spent three seasons as the director of basketball operations, two as a graduate assistant and two as a video coordinator.