The Flames host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs on Saturday, inside the Vines Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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Game Preview The Liberty Flames (15-7, 5-4) conclude their three game homestand when the UNC Asheville Bulldogs (9-12, 5-5 BSC) invade the Vines Center, Saturday night, wrapping the regular season series. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Ritchie McKay and the Liberty men's basketball coaching staff, in conjunction with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society, will take part in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, which will be held Friday-Sunday. During the Flames' home game against UNC Asheville on Saturday, McKay and staff will wear sneakers with their suits to show support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program. The contest will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and the Flames Sports Network, with Ray Jones providing the play-by-play, Tim Scarborough adding the color analysis and Samantha Steele roaming the sidelines. The radio broadcast will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM), with Jerry Edwards providing the play-by-play for his 28th season. 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. Recent Results Liberty enters tonight's game on the heels of a victory over visiting High Point on Tuesday night, 78-63. Kyle Ohman led the way with 26 points, while Anthony Smith chipped in 23 markers to help put the Flames back on their winning ways. Radford handed Liberty a minor setback on Jan. 24 in double overtime, 94-82. Seth Curry led all scorers with 30 points. The Radford loss snapped a four game winning streak and an 11 game home winning streak. Before the Radford setback, at High Point on Jan. 20, Liberty scored 14 straight points in the game's final 1:43 to steal away the victory, 61-56. The Flames were down nine points before Smith scored eight straight points and grabbed three steals in the final 23 seconds to lead the comeback charge. Kyle Ohman hit a trey with 17 seconds remaining to take the lead. Smith scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the second half. Liberty versus UNC Asheville Today's contest marks the 44th all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. UNC Asheville leads the series, 26-17. The Flames have won five of their last six meetings with UNC Asheville, inside the Vines Center. But, when traveling to the Justice Center, the Flames are 2-5 over their last seven games, including an 84-56 setback on Nov. 18, in ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon. Seth Curry tallied 18 points to lead the Flames during the early season Big South game. All-Time Series Results Nov. 18, 2008 L (56-84) Asheville, N.C. March 6, 2008 L (57-75) Asheville, N.C. Feb. 9, 2008 W (83-54) Lynchburg Jan. 12, 2008 L (70-74) Asheville, N.C. 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 March 1, 2001 W (60-48) Roanoke, Va. Feb. 10, 2001 L (54-73) Asheville, N.C. Jan. 23, 2001 L (52-59) Lynchburg March 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. March 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 March 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 Flames Nab Back-to-Back Big South Player of the Week Awards Anthony Smith averaged 21.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and shot 56.3 percent from three-point range (9-of-16) for the Flames last week to be named Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week on Monday. It was the senior's first honor and the second straight for Liberty. Seth Curry took home the award the previous week on Jan. 19. McKay Eyes 200 Career Victories In his 13th season of head coaching, Ritchie McKay currently owns 196 career head coaching victories, needing just four more to reach the 200 career triumph milestone. All of McKay's victories have come at the Division I level and in five different conferences (Big Sky, Big South, Mountain West, Pac-10 and WAC). Curry Reaches Single Season Top 5 for 3-Point Field Goals Seth Curry currently has 70 three-point field goals this year, giving him Liberty's third-best individual total for a season, trailing only 2008's Anthony Smith (84) and 1994's Matt Hildebrand (73). On Tuesday, Curry passed 1997's Larry Jackson (69) for his current position in third. Curry's mark also bests all Liberty freshman, topping 2004's Larry Blair (63). Best Start through First 20 Games Liberty registered a 14-6 mark through the first 20 games of the season. The record is the best mark for Liberty since they started the 1991-92 campaign with a 17-3 mark, marking Liberty's first in the Big South Conference. Curry Nabs First Career Double-Double Tuesday, Seth Curry became the first Liberty freshman to collect a double-double since Peter Aluma on Feb. 5, 1994. The former Liberty standout and NBA performer tallied 13 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds at UMBC. Liberty won the game 75-64. Curry notched his first career double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10 caroms in Liberty's 78-63 triumph over High Point on Tuesday. Fellow freshman Jesse Sanders almost recorded a double-double in the same game with Curry, recording nine assists and nine rebounds. Defending the Free Throw If a team can successfully defend free throws, Liberty is doing so against Big South opponents. Only UNC Asheville on Nov. 18 and VMI on Jan. 17 have connected on better than 70 percent of their free throw attempts. Dishing Assists Liberty has dished out at least 20 assists in each of their last two contests. They recorded 20 helpers against Radford on Jan. 24 and 22 against High Point on Tuesday. Double Figure Scoring Four out of Liberty's last five wins have been by double figures or more. Liberty's lone victory in the stretch that did not reach double figures was at High Point on Jan. 20. Liberty trailed by nine points with 1:43 left in the game, before scoring 14 straight points to win by five markers. Sanders Doesn't Turn the Ball Over Freshman point guard Jesse Sanders has recorded six games this season without a turnover. Sanders leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio. Hitting Three Point Buckets Liberty is currently second in the Big South Conference in made three-point buckets at 9.4 per game. The Flames have reached double figures in made three-point field goals in three straight games. As a team, Liberty is connecting on 38.8 percent (38-of-98) from beyond the arc. Curry Eyes Some Big South Records Seth Curry currently has 451 points, needing 16 points to pass Charleston Southern's Omar Carter (466) for a Big South Conference record for freshman scoring. Carter, a former high school teammate of Curry at Charlotte Christian, set the record last season. Curry can also set his sights on Coastal Carolina's Jack Leasure and his Big South freshman record of 85 three-point buckets set in 2005. Also of note, no freshman in Big South history has ever averaged more than 20 points per game. Curry currently tallies 20.5 markers per contest, leaving the season to play out to see if the Charlotte, N.C., native could be the first. Liberty's All-Time Top Scoring Freshman Name Year Points PPG 1. George Sweet 1973 524 19.4 2. Seth Curry 2009 451 20.5 3. Larry Blair 2004 437 13.2 4. Steve Isaacs 1980 387 9.9 5. Rod Martin 1980 379 9.7 Liberty's All-Time Top Assist Dishing Freshman Name Year Assists APG 1. Matt Hildebrand 1991 136 4.9 2. Rod Martin 1980 122 4.4 3. Karl Hess 1977 115 4.3 4. Kenny Gunn 1982 92 3.7 5. Mickey Baker 1979 90 3.7 6. Jesse Sanders 2009 89 4.0 Curry Pulls Two Weekly Awards on Jan. 19 For the second time this season, Seth Curry has been named Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week and Dick Vitale's "Diaper Dandy" of the Week on the same day. It first happened on Dec. 1. Road Winning Streak With their win at High Point on Jan. 20, Liberty has won back-to-back road games for the second time in three seasons. Liberty closed out the regular season in 2007 with wins at VMI and Radford. Smith Starts Slow From Beyond the Arc Anthony Smith shot 26.2 percent (16-of-61) from beyond the arc through the season's first 12 games. Since his slow start, Smith is shooting 50.8 percent (32-of-63) from three-point range over the past 10 games. This is nothing new for Smith, as the Plano, Texas native shot 27.3 percent (9-of-33) from three-point range through the first six games of last season. Smith heated up in game seven against Longwood on Nov. 27, 2007, connecting on 7-of-8 from three-point land, jumpstarting him to finish the final 26 games connecting on 43.6 percent (75-of-172) of his shots. Smith finished the year connecting on 41.0 percent (84-of-205) of his attempts, giving him the fifth-best success rate for a season in program history. The 84 three-point field goals and 205 three-point attempts were program bests. Top Scorers Liberty has Seth Curry (20.5 ppg) and Anthony Smith (19.0 ppg), both ranked in the top four in the Big South in scoring, helping Liberty register the second best team scoring average in the league, 75.5. Smith's Last 12 Games Anthony Smith has tallied at least 20 points in eight of his last 12 games. Over that span Smith is averaging 19.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg and is hitting 56.3 percent of his field goals, including 45.3 percent of his three-point attempts. Overtime Craziness After going 75 overtime-free games, a streak that was broken on Nov. 29 when Liberty experienced a double-overtime affair with William & Mary, the Flames have now registered a total of four overtime games this season. The four overtime mark ties a season high set in 1996. Three of Liberty's overtime contests this season have been of the double-overtime variety, a first for the program. Liberty is 2-2 this season in overtime contests and 20-31 all-time. Liberty is 2-1 inside the Vines Center and 0-1 on the road in overtime contests this season. The overtime free streak which was snapped this season served as the second-longest in program history and the longest during Liberty's Division I era. Liberty's overall longest streak without an overtime contest is 134 games from Dec. 8, 1972, until Dec. 9, 1977. Smith Climbs Career Minutes Played List Senior Anthony Smith currently sits third all-time in the Liberty annals in minutes played. The Plano, Texas native has played 3,686 minutes in his career, only ranking behind Larry Blair (4,123) and Matt Hildebrand (3,729). Based on his current minutes per game average and barring injury, Smith should finish the regular season No. 2 all-time in the Liberty record books. No Bench Points Liberty tallied no bench points in its 91-80 victory at VMI on Jan. 24. Liberty has never scored that many points and won a game without any points coming from its bench. The last time Liberty received no bench scoring was on Nov. 16, 2006, at Oklahoma. Liberty lost to the Sooners, 74-48. Curry Scores 30 Points and another Liberty First Seth Curry scored 30 points on Dec. 22 against Northern Colorado, becoming the first freshman in the Liberty Division I era to score at least 30 points during a regular season contest. Jamaal Bennett tallied 35 points in the quarterfinals of the 1999 Big South Championship, making him the only other freshman in Liberty's Division I era. One other freshman in the Liberty annals has accomplished the feat, as George Sweet did so during the first year of the program, the 1972-73 season. Sweet tallied 30 points on the nose on three separate occasions. Curry became the first Division I Liberty freshman to reach the 30-point plateau three times, after tallying 35 points on Jan. 17 at VMI, and pouring 30 markers against Radford on Saturday. Smith Reaches the 1,000 Point/500 Rebound Club With three rebounds on Tuesday, Anthony Smith became the 36th player in Big South history to score at least 1,000 career points and grab 500 career rebounds. Smith became the ninth player in program history to accomplish the feat and the fourth during the Division I era. Smith Reaches the 1,500 Point/500 Rebound Club Anthony Smith has 1,557 career points and 500 career rebounds. He tallied his 500th career rebound against High Point on Tuesday to become the ninth player in Big South history with 1,500 career points and 500 career rebounds. Flames Ranked in CollegeInsider.com's Top 25 Mid-Major Poll Currently, the Flames are ranked No. 19 in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. The most recent poll came out on Jan. 26, marking the eighth straight week Liberty was ranked. Liberty's Week-by-Week Ranking Jan. 26 (19) Jan. 19 (16) Jan. 12 (21) Jan. 5 (15) Dec. 29 (12) Dec. 22 (15) Dec. 15 (12) Dec. 8 (13) Dec. 1 (RV) For the first time in program history, the Liberty Flames were ranked in the CollegeInsider.com's Top 25 Mid-Major Poll, when Liberty garnered a No. 13 ranking in the Dec. 8 poll. Liberty had received votes before, but never was able to crack the Top 25. The poll is released every Monday during the season, between 5-8 p.m. EST. Curry Top Scoring Freshman in the Nation Seth Curry's 26-point performance at Virginia on Nov. 25 pushed his points per game average to 22.3, helping him bypass the Cavaliers' Sylven Landesberg (22.0) as the nation's top scoring true freshman. Curry has held the distinction ever since and is currently the only freshman in the Top 50 in scoring and is No. 20 overall at 20.5 ppg. Curry Tallies a Big South Conference First Seth Curry was named Choice Hotels Big South Player of the Week on Dec. 1, making the first time that a true freshman earned the weekly award since the institution of the Big South Freshman of the Week award for the 1990-91 season. Kennedy Okafor from Maryland-Baltimore County won the award as a redshirt freshman on Dec. 15, 1997. Curry and Sanders Team Up for another Big South First On Dec. 1, Seth Curry and Jesse Sanders were named Big South Player and Freshman of the Week respectively. It marked the first time in the history of the Big South Conference that a school swept the weekly awards, with the player of the week also being a freshman. Curry Receives Weekly Accolades From ESPN's Dick Vitale Seth Curry was named Dick Vitale's Diaper Dandy of the Week on Dec. 1 for his play against Virginia, Coker and William & Mary, all Flames' victories. Curry averaged 23.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg, while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from three-point land during that span. Smith's Free Throw Attempts are Up Anthony Smith is currently averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per contest. His attempts are up by 2.2 per game from last season. Smith attempted 2.5 shots from the charity stripe a season ago. Ohman Crashes the Boards Kyle Ohman is pulling down 5.5 rebounds a game this season. The average is 3.0 more caroms per contest then the former walk-on averaged a season ago. Ohman Hitting the Trey Since the arrival of head coach Ritchie McKay, Kyle Ohman has appeared in all 54 contests he has coached. Ohman only appeared in 10 games prior to McKay's arrival. Since the opening day of the 2007-08 season, Ohman has connected on 39.7 percent (121-of-305) of his three-point shots. Ohman's career 39.0 percent mark (123-of-315) ranks No. 3 all-time in the Liberty annals. Smith on Liberty's Career Three-Point List Anthony Smith has 193 career three-point field goals, ranking No. 4 all-time in the Liberty record books. Next on the list is Matt Hildebrand (207). McKay inside the Vines Center Head Coach Ritchie McKay has a career 24-3 mark inside the Vines Center (.890 winning percentage). His three losses came on Jan. 15, 2008, to Winthrop (59-50), on Feb. 26, 2008 to VMI (81-79) and on Jan. 24 to Radford (94-82) in two overtimes. McKay won 11 straight inside the Vines Center, before his first career setback. Ironically, McKay's most recent defeat came after 11 straight triumphs. Curry in the Clutch Seth Curry scored 13 points, on 6-of-7 shooting, during two overtime periods on Nov. 29, leading the Flames to an 80-74 victory over William & Mary. Curry's trey with 18 seconds tied the game at 71, sending the contest into the second overtime period. Curry's heroics helped him earn tournament MVP honors in the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic. Curry in the Clutch Part II Seth Curry reprised his role from the William & Mary double-overtime victory, helping Liberty dispose of George Mason in overtime on Dec. 1, 69-66. Curry's triple with 17.7 seconds left sent the game into the extra frame. From that juncture, Curry scored five of Liberty's eight points in overtime, including an 18-foot jumper to put the Flame ahead for good with 40.6 left in the extra period. Curry in the Clutch Part III Seth Curry nailed a three-point bucket at the buzzer in overtime on Jan. 5, sending the Flames to a second overtime at Presbyterian. Liberty would later fall in double-overtime, 67-66. Ohman Ties a John Paul Jones Arena Record Kyle Ohman scored 17-first half points against Virginia on Nov. 25, tying a John Paul Jones Arena record for first half points. Ohman shares the record with North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Hampton's Vincent Simpson. Curry Ties another Record Seth Curry played all 50 minutes during Liberty's double-overtime win against William & Mary on Nov. 29. By doing so, Curry tied the program record for minutes played in a game, becoming the fourth player to do so. The last time was by Mike Minett on Feb. 10, 1986, against Longwood, roughly four years and six months before Curry's birth. Liberty Wins Three Against In-State Non-Conference Foes The Dec. 1 win over George Mason gave Liberty three non-conference victories over intra-state Division I teams for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Liberty beat James Madison (79-70), Richmond (64-61 2OT) and Virginia Tech (62-61) that season. This year, Liberty has topped Virginia (86-82), William & Mary (80-74 2OT) and George Mason (69-66 OT). Shooting the Trey Liberty is averaging 26.1 three-point attempts a game. Opponents are barely trailing the Flames in that category, heaving up 24.8 long range shots a game. Grabbing the Rebound Liberty is eighth in the Big South Conference in rebounding margin. Opponents are rebounding 2.8 more caroms a game than the Flames. Liberty has been outrebounded in 14-of-22 games this season. Assists are Up and Turnovers Down Liberty has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.2, ranking Liberty second in the Big South. Jesse Sanders leads the team with a 2.15 ratio, as he has dished out 80 assists to 38 turnovers. That marks leads the Big South and is No. 35 nationally. Sanders is Pulling Offensive Boards Liberty's point guard, Jesse Sanders, has pulled down a team-high 47 offensive rebounds. He is averaging 2.1 offensive rebound per game average, or 21.3 percent of Liberty's team average. Curry Joins Elite Liberty Circle Freshman Seth Curry became the fourth Liberty freshman, and the third since the Flames moved to Division I, to reach the 20-point plateau in his collegiate debut, when he tallied 23 markers against Montreat on Nov. 14. The first Liberty freshman to accomplish the feat was Willard DeShazor, who poured in 29 points against Tennessee Temple on Nov. 28, 1973. Chris Toomer scored 21 points against Maine on Nov. 23, 1990, in his first collegiate game. Jay Boykin was the last Liberty freshman, until Curry, to reach 20 points in his collegiate debut. He scored 20 points against Drake on Nov. 24, 1995, when Curry was five years old. The previous three members of this exclusive Liberty club played all four years at Liberty, but Deshazor was the only player to reach the 1,000-point club (1,569). Toomer is next with 583 career points. Curry Ties Vines Center Record in Debut Seth Curry's seven steals against Montreat on Nov. 14 tied a Vines Center record that was originally set by Delawn Grandison on Jan. 7, 1999 against Tusculum and was last achieved by Maurice Watkins on Jan. 15, 2001 against Charleston Southern. Curry became one of seven players to record seven steals inside Liberty's home. Notes From Virginia Win Liberty's win over Virginia snapped the Cavaliers 36-game November home winning streak, which dated back to 1994. The win also snapped Virginia's 16-game winning streak against Big South opponents, which dated back to Liberty's last win over the Cavaliers in 1998. The win also snapped Virginia's 15-game winning streak against non-conference in-state opponents, which dated back to 2002. Seth Curry and Kyle Ohman led Liberty with 26 points, while Anthony Smith chipped in 21 markers. The performance by the trio marked the first time three players have scored 20 against Virginia in the same game since Juan Dixon (23), Chris Wilcox (21) and Lonny Baxter (20) did so for Maryland on March 3, 2002. New Faces Liberty returned 33.5 points of its 69.4 points per game from last season, and 56 percent of those points came from Liberty's lone returning starter, Anthony Smith (16.0 ppg). Included in the returning points per game number is three total points from Tyler Baker, who appeared in one game, before giving way to injury and James Spencer, a walk-on who tallied two total points. The final returnees, Kyle Ohman and Jeremy Anderson chipped in 7.7 ppg and 6.8 ppg, respectively. The Curry/Lynchburg Connection Freshman Seth Curry isn't the only member of his family to appear in a college game on the Liberty campus. Seth's father, Dell Curry, as a freshman, poured in a game-high 19 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, for Virginia Tech on Dec. 7, 1982, in the Hokies' 71-53 triumph over the Flames. The game featured two fathers of 2008 All-Americans. Dell's older son Stephen is an All-American performer at Davidson, while the Flames' Eric Gordon saw his son, Eric Gordon, Jr. picked in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers after an All-American season at Indiana. Liberty's Gordon, scored six points and dished out two assists against Curry's Virginia Tech squad that cold December night in 1982. My Brother is an All-American Freshmen Seth Curry and Jesse Sanders each are younger siblings of All-Americans from last season. Curry's older brother Stephen is currently an All-American performer at Davidson, nearly lifting the Wildcats to the 2008 Final Four. Sanders' older brother Thomas earned All-American honors at Gardner-Webb after being named 2008 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year. The elder Sanders poured in 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the Bulldogs' 84-68 upset win at No. 20 Kentucky on Nov. 8, 2007. 10 Wins Prior to New Years Liberty defeated Cincinnati Christian on Dec. 28, marking the first time in program history the Flames have recorded 10 wins before New Years. Three times, the program has managed nine wins before New Years, doing so during the 1979-80, 1983-84 and 1996-97 seasons. Next on the Scoring List for Anthony Smith With 1,557 career points, Anthony Smith sits in eighth place all-time in the Liberty annals for scoring and third in Division I scoring. On Tuesday, Smith passed Larry Jackson (1,539), a four-year letterwinner from 1995-98 and Willard DeShazor (1,545), a four-year letterwinner from 1974-77. Next up on the scoring list is Ed Vickers (1,658), a three-year letterwinner from 1978-80. Smith needs 102 points to move past Vickers into seventh place all-time.
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