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Men's Hoops Set to Enter Famed Rupp Arena on Wednesday

November 20, 2007  Lexington, Ky.  RSS
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Alex McLean's buzzer beater pushed Liberty to a 55-53 victory at East Carolina on Saturday.

Alex McLean's buzzer beater pushed Liberty to a 55-53 victory at East Carolina on Saturday.

Game Day Central
Game Notes (PDF)
Live Audio
Live Stats

Game Preview
Liberty will play its fifth contest away from home when they take on Kentucky. Tip is set for 7 p.m., inside famed Rupp Arena, Wednesday. The game will mark Liberty's sixth game in the last 13 days.

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. A television broadcast can be seen on Fox Sports Net - South with Dave Baker providing play-by-play, Kyle Macy serving as the analyst and Rob Bromley working the sideline.

Liberty Update
Liberty enters tonight's game coming off an exciting 55-53 triumph at East Carolina, Saturday night. Alex McLean laid in a TeeJay Bannister miss with eight-tenths of a second left on the clock, lifiting the Flames over the Pirates for the second-straight season. B.J. Jenkins tallied a career-best 22 points, including 18 in the second half to pace the victors.

Liberty won its home opener 64-49 victory over Coker, on Nov. 13. Anthony
Smith collected his third career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Kyle Ohman scored a career-best 15 points, while Alex McLean chipped in 15 points in the win.

Prior to the win over Coker, Liberty dropped three games at Fresno State's World Vision Classic. The Flames battled tournament champion San Diego State tough on Nov. 9, falling 62-50. Liberty was pitted against host Fresno State on Nov. 10, losing 71-62.

On Nov. 11, Liberty went up against West Coast Conference foe Portland, losing
73-62.


McKay vs. the SEC
Ritchie McKay owns a lifetime record of 3-3 versus members of the SEC, including wins in his last two matchups. McKay's New Mexico squads topped Mississippi, 95-42, on Nov. 19, 2005, and Tennesse, 77-58, on Dec. 18, 2004. McKay has never faced Kentucky.

Liberty versus Kentucky
Tonight's contest is the second all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. Kentucky leads the all-time series, 1-0. The only previous meeting was on Nov. 25, 2005, as Kentucky topped Liberty, 81-51. The Flames lacking depth, only trailed by nine points at the intermission, before the Wildcats opened the lead, scoring 17 of the first 21 points of the second half.

All-Time Series Results
Nov. 25, 2005 L (51-81) Lexington, Ky.

Current Flames Who Played in 2005 Contest
Russell Monroe (four points), Anthony Smith (three points), Justin Holland (two points), Rell Porter (0 points).

Packing Them In
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.

McKay vs. Gillispie
Tonight's game marks the first time Ritchie McKay and Billy Gillispie have faced each other on the court as head coaches. Their respective teams have met twice before. When McKay was the head coach at Colorado State, he faced Tulsa twice in Western Athletic Conference action. Both contests occurred during the 1998-99 season. Gillispie served as an assistant coach for that Tulsa team. McKay's team won its home contest, 71-64. The Golden Hurricane topped McKay and company in Tulsa, 74-62.

Current Liberty assistant coaches Dale Layer and Brad Soucie were also assistants under McKay on that Colorado State staff.

The Liberty/Kentucky Connection
Kentucky's Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart served as the AD at Oregon State prior his hire in Lexington. Barnhart hired Liberty men's head basketball coach Ritchie McKay in 2000 at Oregon State to run the Beavers program. Barnhart and McKay both left Corvallis in 2002.

Barnhart took his current position at Kentucky and McKay left for the head coaching position at New Mexico. The two remain good friends.

Liberty guard Justin Holland was high school teammates with former Kentucky Wildcat, Randolph Morris. Holland and Morris both attended Landmark Christian Academy in Atlanta, Ga.

Anthony Smith on Verge of 700-Career Points
Junior Anthony Smith became the 35th player in Liberty history to score 600 career points when he tallied 14 points at VMI on Feb. 21, 2007.

Smith needs just 12 points to become the 28th player in program history to reach the 700-point plateau.

Having East Carolina's Number
On Saturday, Liberty defeated East Carolina for the second-straight season. On Dec. 2, 2006, the Flames topped the Pirates, 64-56. The win served as Liberty's first ever against East Carolina in six tries and the program's first win against a member of Conference USA.

Saturday's 55-53 victory over the Pirates served as the program's second all-time win over a Conference USA program.

Pirates Jump Start B.J. Jenkins
B.J. Jenkins tallied a career-best 22 points on Saturday against East Carolina. The sophomore from Virginia Beach, Va., is now averaging 17.0 points over his two career games against East Carolina.

Jenkins scored 12 markers last year against the Pirates, on Dec. 2, 2006. Jenkins' performance helped garner him Big South Freshman of the Week honors on Dec. 4, 2006.

Rell Porter Has Eye on 100 Career Games
Senior Rell Porter has currently played in 94 contests during his Liberty career. The Liberty record is for games played is 122, set by Larry Blair last year. Should Porter appear in every game this year, he will reach 120 during the quarterfinal of the Big South Championship, which would place him tied for second with Karl Hess (1977-1980) and Steve Isaacs (1980-83).