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Liberty Set for Offensive-Defensive Clash Thursday

January 19, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jeremy Anderson and the Flames host the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation in VMi, Thursday at 7 p.m. The contest will air live on ESPN FullCourt and the Flames Sports Network.

Jeremy Anderson and the Flames host the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation in VMi, Thursday at 7 p.m. The contest will air live on ESPN FullCourt and the Flames Sports Network.

Game Day Central

Off to its best start in conference play in program history, the Liberty men's basketball team returns to the Vines Center on Thursday to host the VMI Keydets. The contest is slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff and will air live on the Flames Sports Network and ESPN FullCourt.

Entering the matchup No. 1 in the Big South in scoring defense (63.0 ppg), Liberty welcomes a VMI squad that is pacing the nation in scoring (92.7 ppg). The meeting marks the 24th between the two squads, with Liberty holding a slight edge in the all-time series, 12-11.

VMI enters Thursday's contest with an 11-7 record overall and a 4-4 posting in conference play. Last week, the Keydets picked up two road wins to move to .500 in Big South action. After cruising past the Highlanders with a 105-71 in the Dedmon Center on Thursday, VMI picked up another road win on Saturday against High Point.

Senior Austin Kenon countered Nick Barbour's 32-point scoring effort with a 33-point performance of his own. Three other Keydets finished with double-digit scoring figures – Keith Gabriel (20), Stan Okoye (17) and Nick Gore (13). Okoye also had 12 rebounds to accompany his scoring efforts.

Okoye is the Big South's leading scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game, while Gabriel and Kenon reside at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the conference with 16.8 and 16.5 tallies per contest, respectively. Okoye is also third in the conference in rebounding behind John Brown (10.3 rpg) and Charleston Southern's Kelvin Martin (9.2 rpg), pulling down 9.1 boards per game. Kenon leads the league in three-point field goal percentage and three-point field goals made, shooting 40.2 percent (45-of-112).

Rodney Glasgow steps into the Vines Center No. 3 in the league in assists, trailing Jesse Sanders (6.2 apg) and UNC Asheville's J.P. Primm (4.65 apg) with 4.35 dimes per game. On the defensive end, Gabriel is second in the conference in steals, picking up 2.22 per contest.

VMI steps into the Vines Center on Thursday as the nation's No. 1 scoring offense, averaging 92.7 points per game. However, the Flames are leading the Big South in scoring defense, holding opponents to 63.0 tallies per contest.

The Keydets also lead the nation in three-point field goals made, knocking down 11.1 per game. Liberty hopes to stifle VMI's long range shooting, as the Flames are No. 22 in the country in three-point field goal percentage defense, forcing opponents to shoot 29.2 percent from the three-point arc.

Thursday's meeting features two of the league's best rebounding teams. VMI leads the league with 40.6 boards per game. Liberty sits at No. 3 in the Big South, pulling down 39.8 rebounds per contest. The Flames are also No. 2 in the conference in rebound defense (32.5 per game) and have the 17th best rebounding margin in the country (+ 7.3).

While the Keydets lead the Big South in rebounding, they are also 10th in rebounding defense (43.4 rpg), resulting in a rebound margin of – 2.8 (8th).