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MBB Game Day Central: Houghton

December 18, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jesse Sanders enters Saturday's contest averaging 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

Jesse Sanders enters Saturday's contest averaging 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)

Live Flames Sports Network Radio Broadcast

Live Stats

Houghton Men's Basketball Web Page

The Game
After going 3-1 during the first four contests of its five-game homestand, the Liberty men'sbasketball team is set to take on NAIA member Houghton on Saturday inside the Vines Center. The matchup marks the fi nal home contest for the month of December. The last time the Flames hosted the Highlanders occurred on Nov. 25, 2006, resulting in a 92-46 Liberty win.

Recent Results
Looking to start 2-0 in the Big South for the first 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, last 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, fi nishing 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.

On Tuesday, the Flames played host to Shawnee State. Patirck Konan and Evan Gordon led all scorers with 12 points each, while chipping in nine and seven rebounds, respectively, in Liberty's 70-45 win over the Bears.

Watch and Listen for the Flames
There will be a radio broadcast which will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM)
with Nick Pierce providing the play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on LibertyFlames.com will be available.

A Look at the Highlanders
Houghton enters the contest with a 6-3 record on the season and a 1-1 record in the American Mideast Conference. In their last contest on Dec. 9, the Highlanders travelled to Roberts Wesleyan, ultimately falling to the rival Raiders, 87-73. The host team forced Houghton to commit 23 turnovers, including fi ve in the Highlanders' first six possessions. Houghton's Yannick Anzuluni posted 24 points and 10 rebounds in the contest. Ryan Shay and Devon Paige also fi nished in double-digits, netting 13 and 12 tallies, respectively.

After missing the Highlanders' first seven contests, Anzulini is currently averaging 27.5 points and 15.5 boards since his return. Before the senior returned to the lineup, Paige held the role as the Highlanders' scoring leader and is averaging 15.0 points per game after nine contests. Shay rounds out Houghton's top statistical leaders with 13.6 points and 4.7 boards per game.

Liberty-Houghton Series notes
The Flames and the Highlanders fi rst faced off on Nov. 25, 2006 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 finished 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 fl oor 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.

A pair of current Highlanders also made an appearance in the matchup — Yannick Anzulini and Bryce Ireland. Anzulini fi lled up the stat sheet in the meeting, recording five points, five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. Ireland stepped on the court briefly, tallying one points in two minutes of play.

Back in the Day
Like Houghton, 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. Prior to receiving its NAIA postseason elgibility, the Flames captured the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Championship in 1980.

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.

American Mideast Week
Saturday's matchup marks the second contest of the week against a member of the NAIA's American Mideast Conference. On Tuesday, Liberty squared off with Shawnee State, defeating the Bears 70-45 in the Vines Center. The Highlanders will have their shot at the Bears, as they travel to Portsmouth, Ohio, on Jan. 5 for the conference clash.

Liberty Against the American Mideast Conference
Heading into Saturay's matchup, Liberty holds a 5-3 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,1-0 against Robert Weslyn and 1-0 against Shawnee State.