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Keydets Top Liberty on Senior Night

February 24, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Anthony Smith tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, collecting the double-double on

Anthony Smith tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, collecting the double-double on "Senior Night," as the Flames fall to visiting VMI.

The Flames suffered their worst home loss since Feb. 14, 1991, as the VMI Keydets (21-7, 12-5 BSC) came away with a conference victory on Tuesday night, 109-72, topping Liberty (20-10, 11-6), inside the Vines Center.

Before Tuesday night, Liberty's last home loss by such a large margin came at the hands of East Tennessee State, inside the Vines Center, 90-49. The road victory for VMI was its largest on the road since a trip to the same "Hill City" during the 1953-54 season, when the Keydets topped Lynchburg College, 97-57.

Brolin Floyd dunked home two points at 19:32 to put Liberty up 2-0. However, the bucket would serve as Liberty's only lead of the game. The Keydets answered with a 12-3 run, taking a seven-point advantage, 12-5. Buckets by Austin Kenon, Travis Holmes and Keith Gabriel capped the run. Gabriel's bucket at 15:13 ended the surge.

Anthony Smith dunked at 12:16 to bring the Flames within four points, 15-11, but the Keydets rode a Ron Burks bucket and two Travis Holmes free throws to an eight-point lead, 19-11, with 9:58 left to play in the opening period.

Back-to-back three point buckets by Seth Curry cut Liberty's deficit to four points, 21-17, with 8:39 on the first-half clock. But two Travis Holmes free throws at 7:09 extended the VMI lead to seven points, 26-19, finishing off a mini 5-2 spurt.

Curry hit a trey at 6:47, pulling Liberty within four points once again, 26-22. However, VMI stormed on a 23-13 surge to finish the half, taking a 49-35 advantage into the intermission. During the spurt, Chavis Holmes tallied all 14 of his first-half points.

The Flames struggled from the floor in the opening stanza, hitting 35.3 percent (12-of-34) from the floor, but were efficient from beyond the arc, hitting an identical 35.3 percent (6-of-17)

VMI succeeded on 48.5 percent (16-of-33) of its first-half attempts, including 40 percent (6-of-15) from three-point land.

VMI raced out of the break, taking a 21-point lead, 62-41, courtesy of a 13-6 run to open the stanza. An uncontested Willie Bell layup on a fake handoff capped the run at 16:08. The Keydets were not finished, extending their lead to 29 points, 74-45, after a Michael Sparks theft of Kyle Ohman under the VMI bucket resulted in two points for the visitors, coming at the 12:02 mark.

A Chavis Holmes trey at 8:46 boosted the VMI advantage to 31 points, 86-55. Keith Gabriel nailed a three-pointer at 4:33, finishing off a 19-9 run, giving the Keydets a 41-point lead, 105-64. VMI went on to seal the 37-point margin of victory, 109-72.

Liberty shot 36.4 percent (24-of-66) from the floor on the evening, including 27.3 percent (9-of-33) from three-point range.

On "Senior Night," Anthony Smith tallied a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Flames. Curry chipped in 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from three-point range. Kyle Ohman added 11 points and Austin Smith chipped in a career-high 10 markers and pulled down four rebounds.

VMI was efficient from the floor the entire night, hitting 54.3 percent (38-of-70), including 50 percent (18-of-36) from beyond the arc. The Keydets became the third Liberty opponent this season, and the second in a row, to connect on over 50 percent of its floor shots against the Flames. The first was at Clemson on Dec. 7 and the second was on Saturday at Old Dominion. All three contests resulted in Liberty defeats.

VMI, ranked last in the Big South for rebounding margin, won the battle of the boards narrowly, 44-38.

Liberty returns to action on Saturday, concluding the regular season at Radford. Tip-off is set at 6 p.m., and the game will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

VMI travels to High Point on Saturday. The Keydets conclude their regular season inside the Millis Center at 7 p.m.