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Liberty Hosts VMI on Senior Night

February 24, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Anthony Smith will be honored as the team's lone senior prior to tonight's game against VMI.

Anthony Smith will be honored as the team's lone senior prior to tonight's game against VMI.

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Game Preview
The Liberty Flames (20-9, 11-5) return home for "Senior Night", Tuesday evening, when the VMI Keydets (20-7, 11-5), invade the Vines Center, Tuesday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Liberty senior Guard Anthony Smith and head manager Tim Talley will be honored during pregame festivities.

The contest will be televised on the Flames Sports Network, with Ray Jones providing the play-by-play, Tim Scarborough adding the color analysis and Donna Barber 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 this evening's contest, winners of its past four Big South games and 10 out of 12 league games. Liberty suffered a setback its last time out in a special non-conference game at Old Dominion, Saturday. The game was played as part of the ESPNU BracketBusters series. Liberty fell to the Monarchs, 80-56. Seth Curry led the Flames with 24 points in the loss.

Prior to Saturday's loss, Liberty comes off its first sweep of its annual "Beach Trip" since the 2005 season. The Flames rode 22 points from Curry and 19 markers from Kyle Ohman on the road, Feb. 16, at Coastal Carolina, for 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 Flames in the victory. Prior to that triumph, Liberty topped four-time Big South champions, the Winthrop Eagles. The Flames secured the 10 point victory, 57-47, thanks in part to Curry's 16 points and Ohman's 10 markers.

Liberty versus VMI
Tonight's contest marks the 20th all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. Liberty currently leads, 10-9. The Flames have won the past two meetings, including 91-80 in Lexington on Jan. 17. Seth Curry tallied a game-high 35 points in the win. Liberty won the last contest inside the Vines Center, 103-88, in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Big South Championship. The victory avenged the Flames' defeat to the Keydets the previous season in the same round of the 2007 Big South Championship.

VMI has led the nation in scoring the past two seasons, averaging nearly 100 points a game. During Liberty's first two contests against the high-octane VMI offense head coach Duggar Baucom installed prior to the 2006-07 season, the Flames averaged 120.0 ppg against VMI, winning both contests. The Keydets have slowed things down by their standards recently against Liberty. Outside of Liberty's 102 point effort in last year's Big South Championship quarterfinal, the other three meetings over the course of the past two seasons, Liberty has averaged only 82.0 ppg. Liberty is 6-3 all time inside the Vines Center against VMI, while going 4-6 at VMI.

All-Time Series Results
Jan. 17, 2009 W (91-80) Lexington, Va.
March 4, 2008 W (103-88) Lynchburg
Feb. 26, 2008 L (81-79) Lynchburg
Jan. 28, 2008 W (87-81) Lexington, Va.
Feb. 27, 2007 L (78-79) Lynchburg
Feb. 21, 2007 W (118-108) Lexington, Va.
Jan. 27, 2007 W (122-117) Lynchburg
Feb. 2, 2006 W (71-67) Lynchburg
Jan. 14, 2006 L (68-84) Lexington, Va.
Feb. 17, 2005 L (67-73) Lexington, Va.
Jan. 24, 2005 W (91-71) Lynchburg
Feb. 2, 2004 L (52-61) Lexington, Va.
Jan. 20, 2004 W (66-46) Lynchburg
Dec. 2, 2002 W (77-69) Lynchburg
Nov. 23, 2002 L (54-68) Lexington
Dec. 7, 1991 W (64-55) Lynchburg
Nov. 30, 1990 L (61-69) Lynchburg
Nov. 28, 1977 L (68-105) Lexington, Va.
Dec. 1, 1975 L (58-106) Lexington, Va.

* - Overtime Game
** - Double Overtime Game

Curry to Pass Scarborough on Liberty's All-Time Scoring List
Freshman Seth Curry currently has 601 points on the season and his young career, placing him 38th all-time in the Liberty annals. Curry needs 16 points tonight to pass FTN Color Analyst and former Flame, Tim Scarborough, who scored 616 markers during his four-year career. If Curry passes Scarborough tonight, he will do so in 57 fewer games.

Curry Notes on Reaching 600 Point Plateau
Seth Curry is the sixth different Flame in program history to tally at least 600 points in a season and the third in the Division I era. Karl Hess, Larry Blair and Ed Vickers reached 600 points in two separate seasons and Bailey Alston did it each of his three years at Liberty.

Curry and Alston (756) are the only two players in program history to score at least 600 points during their first season on Liberty Mountain. Alston was a sophomore transfer from Rutgers his first season in Lynchburg.

Single Season Liberty Three-Point Records to be Passed
Satruday, Seth Curry (88) passed teammate Anthony Smith's record (84) set in 2008 for three-point buckets in a season. Curry isn't the only Flame with his eyes set on the top mark, as former walk-on Kyle Ohman (83) is right in the mix as well this year to finish with the top spot.

As a team, the Flames have 273 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 Liberty connected on 288 attempts from beyond the arc. This year's squad averages 9.4 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 209 career three-point field goals, ranking No. 3 all-time in the Liberty record books, passing 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 148 career three-point field goals, passing Mark Reed (139) on Feb. 14 for No. 5 all-time in the Liberty record books. Ohman is now chasing Matt Hildebrand (207) for No. 4.

Curry Eyes Some Big South Records/Sets Others
Seth Curry currently has tallied 601 points, passing Charleston Southern's Omar Carter (466) for the Big South Conference record for freshman scoring on Jan. 31. Carter, a former high school teammate of Curry at Charlotte Christian, set the mark last season. Curry (88) on Saturday passed 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 20.7 markers per contest, leaving the season to play out to see if the Charlotte, N.C., native could be the first.

Smith to Tie Liberty Record for Games Played
By participating in tonight's contest against VMI, Anthony Smith will appear in his 123rd career game, breaking the record for most games played in program history. Smith is currently tied at 122 with former teammate Larry Blair (2004-07).

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 Feb. 16, 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 Sets Liberty's Consecutive Free Throw Record
Seth Curry has made 38 straight free throws, breaking 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.

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.

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     601           20.7
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 16 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 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 235 of Liberty's 273 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 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.

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.

Dishing Assists
Liberty has dished out at least 15 assists in seven of its last nine 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 Feb. 16.

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 9.4 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 nine games. As a team, Liberty is connecting on 37.3 percent (90-of-241) 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.