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MBB Gameday Central: Shawnee State

December 15, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Freshman guard Evan Gordon enters Tuesday's contest averaging nine points and 4.2 boards per game.

Freshman guard Evan Gordon enters Tuesday's contest averaging nine points and 4.2 boards per game.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)

Live Video Streaming (Big South Network)

Live Flames Sports Network Radio Broadcast

Live Stats

The Game
Following a 99-39 win in Saturday's contest against Kentucky Christian, the Liberty men's basketball team (5-6, 1-1 Big South) returns to action on Tuesday, squaring off with another NAIA member in Shawnee State. The matchup is the fourth contest in a five-game homestand for the Flames. The game also marks the fi rst meeting between the two squads. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. inside the Vines Center.

Recent Results

Liberty began conference play on a positive note Dec. 3, defeating Charleston Southern 69-53. Evan Gordon led the way for the Flames, posting a career-high 21 points and eight rebounds. David Minaya also played a key role, netting 14 tallies.

Looking to start 2-0 in the Big South for the fi rst time in school history, Liberty hosted Coastal Carolina on Dec. 5. Unfortunately, the unprecedented achievement did not come to fruition, as the Chanticleers took the contest 73-58.

The Flames received a one-week rest from on-court action before hosting Kentucky Christian, Saturday. Jesse Sanders put his name at the top of the record books in the 99- 39 win, becoming the first player in Big South and school history to achieve two career triple-doubles, finishing with 11 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. Antwan Burrus also earned Big South Freshman of the Week honors, posting 15 points and five rebounds in just 12 minutes of play in the contest.

Watch and Listen for the Flames
Saturday's game will be video streamed on the Big South Network. There will be a radio broadcast which will air on the Flames Sports Network (fl agship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Nick Pierce providing the play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on will be available.

A Look at the Bears
Shawnee State enters the contest with a 3-8 record on the season. On Saturday, the Bears travelled to Rio Grande, escaping with a 72-70 victory over the Redmen. Five Shawnee State players achieved double fi gures in the matchup, including Keelyn Franklin who led the way with 21 points. Franklin filled up the stat sheet in the contest, adding two rebounds, two blocks, four steals and an assist. Rounding out the top scorers for the Bears were Ian Nixon (12), Mark Bryant (12), Tyler Morgan (10) and Tyler Boyles (10).

Morgan, a freshman forward, currently leads the Bears in points and rebounds for the season, averaging 14.3 tallies and 8.4 boards per game. Franklin, a junior forward in the team's assists and steals leader with 2.7 dimes and 1.8 thefts per game.

First Meetings

Tuesday's contest marks the inaugural meeting between Liberty and Shawnee State. Earlier this season, Liberty met two other teams for the fi rst time in the Chicago Invitational Challenge. On Nov. 27, the Flames squared off against Mississippi Valley State at the UIC Pavilion, snapping a four-game losing skid with a 72-53 victory over the Delta Devils. Freshman Patrick Konan led the way for the Flames, netting 16 points, while chipping in nine boards. Evan Gordon was also a key contributor in the match-up, finishing with 14 tallies and four rebounds.

The next day, Liberty returned to the UIC Pavilion, squaring off against Tennesee
State. The Flames escaped with a narrow 63-60 win over the Tigers, fi nishing with a 2-2
record in the Chicago Invitational. Kyle Ohman tied his season high in scoring with 23
points, while adding seven rebounds.

The Flames' schedule features another possible fi rst time opponent on Dec. 30, as
Liberty could potentially square off with Jacksonville in the second game of the UCF Holiday

Back in the Day
Like Shawnee State, Liberty is no stranger to competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Before moving up the ranks to Division I play, Liberty joined the NAIA in 1975 as an associate member. The program then transitioned to NCAA Division II in 1981, but was still elgible for NAIA postseason play.

Liberty dropped its NAIA affi liation completely in 1984, when it became elgibile for NCAA Division II competition. Liberty moved to the top level of college basketball competition on Sept. 1, 1988, when it was accepted for NCAA Division I membership.

During its time in the association, Liberty produced one NAIA All-American, center Steve Issacs, who earned honorable mention honors in 1982 and 1983. Issacs also earned all-district honors from 1981-83. Other Liberty players to earn NAIA all-district honors include Mark Swift (1981), Greg McCauley (1982) and Kenny Gunn (1983). Former Liberty men's head coach Jeff Meyer, who coached the Flames from 1982-97, also earned NAIA All-District Coach of the Year Honors in 1982.

Liberty Against the American Mideast Conference
Heading into Tuesday's matchup, Liberty holds a 4-3 record over current members of the American Mideast Conference. The Flames are 1-0 against Houghton, 0-1 against Malone, 2-2 against Mt. Vernon Nazarene and 1-0 against Robert Weslyn.

Liberty's most recent contest with an American Mideast member occurred on November 25, 2006 versus Houghton inside the Vines Center. Alex McLean led the way for the Flames in the 92-46 victory with 26 points and five rebounds. Larry Blair also fi nished with a solid performance, netting 24 tallies. Rell Porter rounded out Liberty's double-digit scorers, posting 10 points while chipping in seven rebounds.

Two current members of the Flames' roster took the floor in the contest — Kyle Ohman and Tyler Baker. Ohman, a freshman walk-on at the time, collected one rebound, two steals and an assist in 11 minutes of play. Baker remained on the court for 14 minutes, finishing with four points, eight boards and two assists.

Double Triple-Doubles
Jesse Sanders became the first player in school and Big South history to achieve two career triple-doubles. In Saturday's contest against Kentucky Christian, Sanders finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The sophomore grabbed the last board needed to complete the three-category achievement with just 20 seconds remaining in the contest, following a missed freethrow.

Sander's previous triple-double occurred on Feb. 9, 2009, when he posted 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Presbyterian. Both of Sanders' triple-doubles occurred inside the Vines Center.

Buckets for Burrus
Coming into Saturday's contest averaging 2.0 points and 0.8 rebounds per game, Antwan Burrus scored a team-high 15 points, grabbed five rebounds, blocked one shot and went 7-of-10 from the field in just 12 minutes of action to help the Flames past Kentucky Christian, 99-39. The freshman's performance earned him Big South Freshman of the Week honors, making him the first Flame to garner weekly conference honors this season.

Lights Out
Liberty had its best first half three-point shooting performance of the season on Saturday, hitting 7-of-13 from three-point land (53.8 percent). Jeremy Anderson led the way for the Flames, netting four treys during the opening 20 minutes.

Quest for 1,000
After Liberty's contest against Kentucky Christian on Saturday, Kyle Ohman now has scored 903 points, ranking him 22nd on Liberty's all-time scoring list. Ohman needs 52 points to grab the 21st spot, which is held by 2008 Liberty graduate Alex McLean. Ohman leads the Flames with 14.7 points per game and is ninth in the Big South in scoring. Ohman currently has 162 points on the season, making him the first Flame to reach the century mark this season.

Ohman is currently on pace to become the 21st player of Liberty's 1,000 point club,
featuring notable Flames like Anthony Smith, Peter Aluma, Ed Vickers, Julius Nwosu, Eric
Gordon and others. Three members of the 1,000 point club are also members of Liberty's
2,000 point club — Karl Hess (2,373), Larry Blair (2,211) and Bailey Alston.