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Men's Hoops at VMI Tonight

January 28, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty travels to VMI tonight.

Liberty travels to VMI tonight.

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Game Preview
Liberty opens a three-game road trip, as they head to Lexington, Va., to face Virginia Military Institute, Monday night, inside Cameron Hall. The Big South Conference match-up is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. Monday's contest will be broadcast on the radio which will air on the Flames Sports Network (flagship WRVL 88.3 FM) with Jerry Edwards providing play-by-play. Additionally, an Internet audio broadcast on will be available. There will also be a live video stream of the broadcast via the Big South EDGE, available on

Liberty Update
The Flames enter tonight's contest in the midst of a three-game winning streak, with the most recent win coming in a narrow 55-51 victory over High Point on Saturday. Alex McLean notched his eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the cause.

Prior to Saturday, Liberty collected a 78-59 victory over Coastal Carolina on Jan. 21. TeeJay Bannister broke his own Vines Center record with 15 assists and McLean collected his seventh double-double, tallying 22 points and 12 rebounds. The Flames opened the homestand with a 79- 63 victory over Charleston Southern on Jan. 19. Anthony Smith paced all scorers with 22 points, while McLean chipped in 16 points and Bannister dished-out eight assists and tallied 13 points. B.J. Jenkins contributed 13 points and a career-high eight rebounds in the victory.

The Charleston Southern win snapped a mini two-game slide to start the conference schedule. On Jan. 15 the Flames experienced a 55-48 setback at Winthrop, marking the first time since the 2004-05 season that Liberty started Big South play 0-2. Liberty dropped its Big South opener, 74-70, at the hands of UNC Asheville on Jan. 12, inside the Justice Center.

Liberty versus VMI
Tonight's contest marks the 16th all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball, in a series that started on Dec. 1, 1975. VMI leads the series, 8-7. Liberty won its first contest at VMI last season when the Flames left Cameron Hall with a 118-108 triumph. Liberty is 1-6 all-time at VMI, while holding a 6-2 advantage in the Vines Center. Before Liberty fell in the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship last season, the Flames had won six-straight over the Keydets in the Vines Center. VMI's only other win was the first-ever game played in the Vines Center on Nov. 30, 1990.

All-Time Series Results
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.

The Liberty/VMI Connection
VMI assistant coach Jason Allison is a 1999 graduate of Liberty. Allison appeared in 49 game over his three-year career (1996-97-98). Allison was a member of Liberty's 1997 regular season Big South champion club.

Current Flames With Notable Games Versus High Point
Alex McLean (40 points and 19 rebounds at VMI, Feb. 21, 2007)
Anthony Smith (14 points and 10 assists at VMI, Feb. 21, 2007)
Alex McLean (22 points and 13 rebounds vs. VMI, Jan. 27, 2007)
Anthony Smith (17 points and six assists vs. VMI, Jan. 27, 2007)
Rell Porter (12 points and eight rebounds vs. VMI, Feb. 2, 2006)

Alex McLean vs. VMI
Senior Alex McLean had a career night the last time he stepped foot in Cameron Hall. The senior tallied career highs with 40 points and 19 rebounds on Feb. 21, 2007, both were national highs for the day. In three career games against the Keydets, McLean is averaging 23.7 points and 14.3 rebounds, while shooting 65.9 percent (29-of-44) from
the floor.

McKay's Milestone
Outside his 19 wins at Colorado State in 1999, Ritchie McKay's 11 victories this season are the most in the first year of a tenure at any program he has headed up. McKay had nine victories in 1997 at Portland State when the program was first added after a 15-year hiatus. His Oregon State team in 2001 and his New Mexico team in 2003 each won 10 games the first season McKay was on campus.

McKay versus the Big South Conference
Head coach Ritchie McKay is 4-2 all-time against the Big South Conference. Two of the four victories have come against Charleston Southern. The first came last season when McKay's Lobo team at New Mexico defeated Charleston Southern, 76-69. The second was on Jan. 19.

Liberty Notches 10th Win of Season
On Jan. 21 the Flames notched their 10th win in what was their 19th game of the season. This is the quickest a Liberty team has reached 10 wins since Mel Hankinson's 2000 squad accomplished double-figure wins in their 13th game. It took Liberty's 2004 Big South Championship team 22 games to reach the 10-win mark.

Liberty Is 10-0 At Home
Liberty has started the season 10-0 at home for the first time since the 1992 season when the Flames won its first 14 home games. Liberty's 15th and final home game that season was a 73-70 setback to Virginia Tech.

TeeJay Bannister Dropping Dimes
TeeJay Bannister has dished out 67 assists over his past seven games as compared to 20 turnovers. Over the six-game stretch, he is averaging 9.6 assists versus 2.9 turnovers per game.

TeeJay Bannister and His Assists on a National Level
TeeJay Bannister currently ranks No. 3 nationally in assists, dropping 7.4 dimes per contest. Six of Bannister's contemporaries in the Top 30 have or will face Liberty this season. No. 2 with Bannister is High Point's Mike Jefferson (7.5), No. 6 is East Carolina's Darrell Jenkins (6.9), No. 13 is Radford's Amir Johnson (6.3), No. 25 is UNC Asheville's K.J. Garland (5.9), No. 28 is Fresno State's Kevin Bell (5.8) and at No. 30 is Niagara's Anthony Nelson (5.6).

Bannister's friend and former teammate at Virginia, Sean Singletary (6.6) is making the list at No. 10.

Anthony Smith Reaches 900 Career Points
With 15 points on Jan. 21 versus Coastal Carolina, Anthony Smith became the 20th player in program history, and the ninth since Liberty moved to Division I, to score 900 career points. Every player in program history who has scored at least 900 career points went on to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Next on the Scoring List for Anthony Smith
With 915 career points, Anthony Smith sits 20th all-time in Liberty annals for scoring, having passed Gabe Martin (890) with his 22-point performance on Jan. 19 versus Charleston Southern. Next on the list is Mike Minett (1,001), who owns the 19th spot on Liberty's career scoring list. Minett was a three-year letterwinner from 1985-87.