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LU on ESPNU Saturday at Old Dominion

February 19, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Kyle Ohman and Liberty will play on ESPNU on Saturday at Old Dominion as part of the ESPNU BracketBuster.

Kyle Ohman and Liberty will play on ESPNU on Saturday at Old Dominion as part of the ESPNU BracketBuster.

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

Game Preview
The Liberty Flames (20-8, 11-5) will take a break from Big South Conference action by taking part in the 2009 ESPNU BracketBuster series, when they invade the Ted Constant Center, Saturday morning, facing off against the Old Dominion Monarchs (17-9, 10-6) of the Colonial Athletic Association. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m., and the game is one of 13 televised BracketBuster contests on the ESPN family of networks.

The contest will be televised on ESPNU, with Michael Reghi providing the play-by-play and Jim Chones adding color analysis. 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.

Recent Results
Liberty enters this morning's contest winners of its past four games and 10 out of 12. Liberty is coming off its first sweep of its annual "Beach Trip" since the 2005 season. The Flames rode 22 points from Seth Curry and 19 markers from Kyle Ohman on the road Monday at Coastal Carolina, to a 85-82 win. On Feb. 14, it was a sweet Valentine's Day as Liberty Head Coach Ritchie McKay notched his 200th career victory. Curry, Ohman and Anthony Smith all reached the 20 point plateau, toppling homestanding Charleston Southern, 95-80.

On Feb. 9, Liberty defeated visiting Presbyterian, 69-48. Jesse Sanders led the way with a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists), while committing zero turnovers. Curry tallied 22 points, helping pace the victory. Prior to their Monday triumph, Liberty topped four-time Big South champions, the Winthrop Eagles. The Flames secured the 10 point victory, 57-47, thanks in parts to Curry's 16 points and Ohman's 10 markers.

Before beating Winthrop, Liberty suffered a heartbreaking double-overtime loss at Gardner-Webb on Feb. 4, 95-90. Ohman poured in a career-high 38 points in the losing effort. Prior to the Gardner-Webb defeat, Liberty reeled off two straight league wins, starting with a 78-66 triumph over UNC Asheville on Jan. 31. Four starters tallied double figures, led by Curry's 17 markers and Ohman's 16 points. Before the UNC Asheville win, Liberty topped visiting High Point on Jan. 27, 78-63.

Liberty versus Old Dominion
This morning's contest marks the third all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball and the first since Dec. 7, 2004. Old Dominion leads the all-time series, 2-0. Liberty's Larry Blair tallied 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range in the last meeting between these two programs, but it wasn't enough as Old Dominion received 15 points from Kiah Thomas and 14 markers from Valdas Vasylius, leading the Monarchs to a 70-54 victory, inside the Vines Center. The Flames only appearance inside the Ted Constant Center came in the inaugural meeting of the series on Dec. 18, 2003. Old Dominion won the contest, 87-66. Blair, as a freshman, dropped 16 points, while Gabe Martin tallied a team-high 19 points in the loss. John Waller of Old Dominion led all scorers with 24 points. Blair would finish his career as the Big South Conference's all-time leading scorer (2,211), a mark passed last season by VMI's Reggie Williams.

All-Time Series Results
Dec. 7, 2004 L (54-70) Lynchburg
Dec. 18, 2003 L (66-87) Norfolk, Va.

Liberty in the ESPNU BracketBuster
Liberty is 0-1 all-time in the ESPNU BracketBuster series, falling at Niagara on Feb. 17, 2007. The Purple Eagles topped the Flames, 90-81. Liberty won the return game on Dec. 1, 2007, inside the Vines Center. Three current Flames were on the team that played in the Niagara BracketBuster game. As a sophomore, Anthony Smith scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. As a redshirt freshman, Tyler Baker came off the bench and scored six points. Kyle Ohman, as a walk-on, did not appear in the game, but sat on the bench.

McKay versus the CAA and ODU's Taylor
Liberty Head Coach Ritchie McKay owns a 2-1 all-time record against members of the CAA and a 1-3 all-time mark against Old Dominion skipper Blaine Taylor. Since coming to Liberty, McKay is 1-1 against George Mason and 1-0 against William & Mary. During McKay's first two seasons of his head coaching career at Portland State, he regularly faced Taylor's Montana squad in Big Sky Conference action. In McKay and Taylor's first meeting, McKay and Portland State narrowly fell to Taylor's Montana squad, 69-68. The significance of that 1997 meeting was Portland State's basketball program was in its first year of reinstatement after a 16 season hiatus, while Montana went on to the NCAA Tournament that season with a 21-11 record.

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).

Liberty versus the CAA in 2008-09
Liberty is 2-0 against the CAA this season, topping William & Mary and George Mason in a three day span (Nov. 29-Dec. 1). Both games reached overtime, with the William & Mary contest being decided in double-overtime.

Sanders Drops Liberty's First Triple-Double
On Feb. 9, Jesse Sanders completed the first triple-double in Liberty's Division I era. Sanders tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists versus no turnovers in Liberty's 69-48 triumph over Presbyterian.

Liberty Notches 20th Victory
With its victory at Coastal Carolina on Monday, Liberty reached the 20 win plateau for the first time in 12 seasons, the third time in its Division I era and fifth time overall. Liberty becomes the 15th Big South Conference (24 years of basketball) team to tally 20 wins during the regular season. Both of Liberty's previous 20 win campaigns at the Division I level are also a part of that list.

Liberty's Other 20 Win Seasons
1980 (28-11) 1983 (23-9) 1992 (22-7) 1997 (23-9)

Curry Eyes Liberty Consecutive Free Throw Record
Seth Curry has made 36 straight free throws, needing two more consecutive free throws to break Karl Hess (1980) and Matt Hildebrand's (1992) record of 37.

McKay Notches 200th Career Victory
At Charleston Southern on Feb. 14, Ritchie McKay secured his 200th career head coaching victory. In his 13th season of head coaching, 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). McKay is winning at a 52.5 percent clip, having a 201-182 career coaching victory.

Near Misses
Of Liberty's eight losses this season, three were in double overtime, and another four were on the road by a combined 11 points. Liberty dropped a game by five points at Clemson (currently No. 13 nationally), after playing a home game 24 hours earlier. Liberty led by as many as 12 points with 10 minutes to play against the Tigers. A Seth Curry field goal attempt rimmed out under a minute that would have tied the game. Clemson is still the only team to shoot over 50 percent from the floor against the Flames this season. Dar Tucker sank both ends of a one-in-one with 1.1 seconds left to lift DePaul over the Flames. Both road losses at Saint Louis and Winthrop saw game-tying or winning attempts fall harmlessly in the closing seconds.

Smith to Tie Liberty Record for Games Played
By participating in today's contest at Old Dominion, Anthony Smith will appear in his 122 career game, tying him for the most in program history with Larry Blair. Smith is currently tied at 121 with former teammate Rell Porter (2005-08). Both Porter and Smith were teammates with Blair (2004-07).

Sanders and Big South Triple-Doubles
Jesse Sanders' triple-double on Feb. 9 was the fifth all-time in Big South Conference history. UNC Asheville's Kenny George accomplished the feat last, on Nov. 17, 2007, with points (20), rebounds (12) and blocks (10). Sanders is the second overall player in the Big South to notch a triple-double with points (10), rebounds (10) and assists (10), and is the first since UMBC's Marc Lay, who reached his mark against Coastal Carolina on Jan. 16, 1995.

Single Season Liberty Three-Point Records to be Passed
On Monday, Seth Curry (84) tied teammate Anthony Smith's record on set in 2008 for three-point buckets in a season. Curry isn't the only Flame with his eyes set on the top mark, a former walk-on Kyle Ohman (82) is right in the mix as well this year.

As a team, the Flames have 265 three-point field goals. The team record was set last season when Ritchie McKay's inaugural team shattered the previous mark set in 2002 (225 treys), when his first Liberty squad connected on 288 attempts from beyond the arc. This year's squad averages 9.5 three-point buckets per game (No. 7 nationally), leaving last season's record-setting mark in jeopardy.

Smith on Liberty's Career Three-Point List
Anthony Smith has 207 career three-point field goals, ranking No. 3 all-time in the Liberty record books, tied with Matt Hildebrand (207). Larry Jackson (224) is next on the list at No. 2, while Larry Blair (227) sits atop of the list at No. 1.

Ohman on Liberty's Career Three-Point List
Kyle Ohman has 147 career three-point field goals, passing Mark Reed (139) on Feb. 14 for No. 5 all-time in the Liberty record books.

Curry Eyes Some Big South Records/Sets Another
Seth Curry currently has 577 points, having passed 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 (84) now has his sights set on Coastal Carolina's Jack Leasure and his Big South freshman record of 85 three-point buckets set in 2005. Curry needs two three-point field goals to break Leasure's mark.

Also of note, no freshman in Big South history has ever averaged more than 20 points per game. Curry currently tallies 20.6 markers per contest, leaving the season to play out to see if the Charlotte, N.C., native could be the first.

Winning on the Road in 2009
Liberty has won five road games and two neutral site games this season, giving the Flames seven wins away from the Vines Center. The last time Liberty had five road wins was the 2005 season and the last time they won at least seven games away from the Vines Center was 1997, when they won nine road games and two neutral site games.

Curry Reaches 500 Point Club
Freshman Seth Curry became the 48th player in program history to tally 500 career points. Curry is the third player to reach the club in his first season with the program and the second freshman. As a freshman, George Sweet (524) reached the 500 point club in 1973, in the first year of the program. Mike Goad (511) made his mark on the 500 point club in 1974 as a junior.

Curry Becomes Liberty's Top Scoring Freshman
Freshman Seth Curry passed George Sweet on Feb. 9 as Liberty's top scoring freshman. Sweet set the mark in 1973, the first year of the program. Curry accomplished the feat in 26 games, one fewer than Sweet.

Name                Year             Points          PPG
1. Seth Curry     2009              577            20.6
2. George Sweet  1973               524            19.4
3. Larry Blair        2004              437            13.2
4. Steve Isaacs     1980             387              9.9
5. Rod Martin        1980             379              9.7

Liberty Cinches First Winning Season Since 2004
With Liberty's victory over Winthrop on Feb. 7, the Flames have successfully claimed their first winning season since 2004 when the program won the Big South Championship, finishing with an 18-15 mark.

Smith Accomplishes Liberty First
Anthony Smith dished out his 200th career helper on Feb. 4 at Gardner-Webb, making him the first player in Liberty program history with at least 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds and 200 career assists.

Liberty's Unique Point Guard
Freshman point guard Jesse Sanders averages 5.5 rebounds per game. Offensive rebounds make up 66 of his total 154 caroms (42.9 percent). No other point guard in the nation averages over 5.0 rebounds per game while sniffing at least 40 percent of their total on the offensive end. Only eight other point guards in the nation average at least 5.0 rebounds per game. Carlon Brown (Utah), Talor Battle (Penn State), Nick Calathes (Florida), Courtney Fortson (Arkansas), Marquis Hall (Lehigh), Aaron Jackson (Duquesne), Dominique Jones (South Florida) and Alex Renfroe (Belmont).

Rebounding runs in the Sanders family, as older brother Thomas, a third team AP All-American at Gardner-Webb last season, led the nation in rebounding (10.5) for players 6-5 and under. Thomas Sanders is 6-4.

Lights Camera Action
Liberty freshman Seth Curry had a cameo role in the basketball motion picture Juwanna Mann. Curry was 11 years old when the movie was released in the summer of 2002. In a scene that was filmed in the backyard of a previous home his family owned in Charlotte, the main character of the movie, Jamal Jefferies, sees a young girl playing basketball with a group of young boys. The Jefferies character, who recently was suspended from the NBA, gets the idea of dressing up as a women to play in the WNBA. Curry was one of the young boys playing in the game the Jefferies character witnessed.

Team Rebounding on the Way Up
Liberty as a team was outrebounded in 11 of the season's first 13 games. Since game No. 14, the Liberty squad, which starts five guards, has outrebounded nine of its last 15 opponents, including a streak of five straight games during which Flames' opponent have not register more rebounds. Liberty and Presbyterian tied in the rebound battle on Feb. 9. Charleston Southern edged Liberty by two rebounds, 32-30, on Feb. 14, breaking the streak.

Curry Adapts Game
Freshman Seth Curry has hit a little shooting slump over the past five games. At the conclusion of his career-best 35 point performance at VMI on Jan. 17, Curry was hitting 45.9 percent of his shots, including 39.9 percent of his three-point attempts for the season. In the 10 games since the VMI contest, Curry has hit only 36.1 percent of his attempts, including 28.7 percent of his three-point shots.

During the 10 game period, Curry has adapted his game, averaging 5.6 rebounds per game versus 3.7 caroms he was averaging through the VMI contest. His assists are up too, from 1.8 to 3.4 helpers per game.

Curry Taking Charity from the Stripe
Seth Curry has made 63 of his last 65 free throw attempts, including his last 36. Curry is currently No. 1 in the Big South for free throw efficiency this season at 85.0 percent.

Three Amigos
Seth Curry, Kyle Ohman and Anthony Smith have contributed to hit 228 of Liberty's 265 three-pointers this season. The total comes out to 86.0 percent of the Flames' treys coming from the trio.

Liberty Pushes Record to 10 Games over .500
With its win on Feb. 9 against Presbyterian, Liberty moved its season record to 10 games over .500 at 18-8. Before this season, the last time Liberty played in game to move its season record to 10 wins over .500 was nearly 12 years ago on Feb. 8, 1997. The Flames defeated the Winthrop Eagles in Rock Hill, S.C., by three points, 66-63, pushing their record to 17-7 on the season.

LU Nab Back-to-Back-to-Back Big South Player of the Week Awards
Kyle Ohman averaged 21.0 points, 59.1 percent from the field (13-of-22) and 57.1 percent from beyond the arc (8-of-14) in two Big South wins for the of week Jan. 26-Feb. 1, earning Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week honors.

Ohman's accolade gave Liberty a strangle hold on the weekly award for three weeks, marking the first time a school has won three straight Big South Player of the Week honors since Liberty accomplished the feat during the 1995-96 season. Peter Aluma won the first two awards during the run, while Marcus White followed up with one of his own, finishing off the trio of honors. Ohman's award follows Anthony Smith's honor on Jan. 26, while Seth Curry earned his second nod this season as player of the week on Jan. 19.

Big South Player of the Week Fun Fact
Kyle Ohman joined Seth Curry and Anthony Smith as the third different Liberty Flame this season to win Big South Player of the Week honors, marking a first time in program history that three different Flames garnered player of the week certificates in the same season. The Big South has now accomplished the feat in three straight seasons. The 2006-07 Winthrop Eagles (Craig Bradshaw, Michael Jenkins and Torrell Martin) and the 2007-08 UNC Asheville Bulldogs (K.J. Garland, Kenny George and Bryan Smithson) started the streak. Both Winthrop and UNC Asheville ended up winning the Big South Conference regular season championship the season they accomplished the feat. The VMI Keydets have also had three different players earn Big South player of the week honors this season (Chavis Holmes, Travis Holmes and Austin Kenon).

Curry and Ohman Reach Single Season Top 5 for 3-Point Field Goals
Seth Curry currently has 84 three-point field goals this year, tying him for Liberty's best individual total for a season, matching 2008's Anthony Smith (84). On Feb. 7, Curry passed 1994's Matt Hildebrand (73) for his current position in second. Curry's mark also bests all Liberty freshman, topping 2004's Larry Blair (63).

Kyle Ohman currently has 82 three-point field goals this year, giving him Liberty's third-best individual total for a season, trailing only Smith and Curry. Entering the season, Ohman's 2008 season (63) had tied for the fifth-best total, a mark that has fallen to seventh this season.

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 five overtime games this season. The five overtime mark breaks a program season best of four set in 1996. Four of Liberty's overtime contests this season have been of the double-overtime variety, a first for the program. Only Bucknell and Idaho State have played as many overtime games as the Flames this season.

Liberty is 2-3 this season in overtime contests and 20-32 all-time. Liberty is 2-1 inside the Vines Center and 0-2 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.

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 the Flames since they started the 1991-92 campaign with a 17-3 mark, Liberty's first season in the Big South Conference.

Curry Nabs First Career Double-Double
On Jan. 27, 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 Jan. 27. Fellow freshman Jesse Sanders almost recorded a double-double in the same game with Curry, recording nine assists and nine rebounds.

Dishing Assists
Liberty has dished out at least 15 assists in seven of its last eight contests. The Flames recorded 20 helpers against Radford on Jan. 24 and 22 against High Point on Jan. 27. Liberty dished out 15 assists on Jan. 31, dropping under the 20 assist mark for the first time in three games. The Flames dished out 16 assists on Feb. 4 at Gardner-Webb and 17 on Feb. 9 against Presbyterian and 18 on Feb. 14 at Charleston Southern. Liberty went over the 20 assist mark with 22 dimes off of 29 field goals at Coastal Carolina on Monday.

Double Figure Scoring
Eight out of Liberty's last 10 wins have been by double figures or more. Liberty's first victory in the stretch that did not reach a double-figure margin 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. The second victory of the single point margin variety was a three point win at Coastal Carolina on Monday.

Sanders Doesn't Turn the Ball Over
Freshman point guard Jesse Sanders has recorded eight games this season without a turnover. Sanders leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.50 and is No. 16 nationally.

Hitting Three Point Buckets
Liberty is currently second in the Big South Conference in made three-point buckets at 9.5 per game. Liberty ranks No. 7 nationally in three-point field goals per game. The Big South has two teams in the national Top 10 as VMI leads the nation. The Flames have reached double figures in made three-point field goals in four of their last eight games. As a team, Liberty is connecting on 38.3 percent (82-of-214) from beyond the arc during the eight game span.

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.