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Smith and Anderson Lift Liberty over VMI

January 28, 2008  Lexington, Va.  RSS
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Alex McLean scores two of his 11 points on Monday at VMI.

Alex McLean scores two of his 11 points on Monday at VMI.

Anthony Smith scored 22 points and Jeremy Anderson erupted for 20 points, as Liberty recorded its fourth-straight win, 87-81, with a victory over the VMI Keydets, Monday night, inside Cameron Hall.

Liberty won inside Cameron Hall for the second occasion in eight tries. The Flames' 118-108 victory at VMI last season marked the first.

Following the victory, the Flames improve to 12-9 and 4-2 in Big South play. With the loss, VMI falls to 10-9 and 2-3 in Big South play.

VMI raced out to a quick nine point lead, 15-6, capped by a Quinn Brownfield three-point bucket at 14:47. The Flames quickly settled in after that bucket, taking a 20-17 lead, courtesy of a 14-2 run. During the spurt, the Flames had an array of options with B.J. Jenkins, Alex McLean and Smith tallying markers. The run was capped by back-to-back three-point buckets by Anderson, the latter coming at 12:07.

Liberty extended its lead, 32-26, with 7:41 left in the opening stanza, courtesy of five-straight points by Smith. Anderson and Kyle Ohman took over the next five minutes, pushing Liberty's lead to 46-37, as each guard nailed two three-point buckets. Anderson's trey at 2:39 ended the Liberty run.

The Flames finished the half with a 7-2 advantage, entering the intermission with the 53-39 lead. During the run the Flames received four-straight points by Smith and capped the half with a three-point bucket by Anderson, his fifth of the half, coming with 20.0 seconds left.

Liberty nailed 54.1 percent (20-of-37) from the floor, including 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from three-point range. The Flames also outrebounded VMI, 24-9, while dishing 14 team assists.

VMI was successful on 50.0 percent (13-of-26) of its shots from the field, including 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from three-point range.

The Keydets came out of the break and quickly cut Liberty's 16-point lead to seven points, 57-50, via an 11-4 run, capped by a Travis Holmes three-point bucket at 16:10.

After an Ohman turnover, Adam Lonon tallied two points, cutting Liberty's lead to five, 63-58, with 13:49 remaining in the game. The Flames bounced right back via a 7-2 spurt, capped by a Smith trey with 12:03 remaining in the game.

VMI rode a Christian Hunter three-point bucket, narrowing the Flames' lead to five points, 73-68, with 7:29 left in the game. The Keydets couldn't crack the five-point deficit, reaching it once more when Chavis Holmes scored a bucket in the lane at 5:08. Liberty was ahead 75-70 at that point.

Liberty quickly pushed the lead back to ten points, 80-70, with 3:02 left in the game. Anderson tallied his first two-point bucket of the season when he scored in transition off a Rell Porter pass at 5:01.

Soon after that bucket, Bell looked to score an easy layup on transition when Smith came out of nowhere, pinning the shot attempt off the glass at 3:35. Porter then hit a three-point bucket on the other end of the floor at 3:02, moving the lead to 80-70.

Liberty then went up 12 points, 87-75, after TeeJay Bannister knocked down 3-of-4 free throw attempts with 58 seconds left.

VMI was able to slice the lead to six, but it wasn't enough as the Flames held onto the 87-81 triumph.

Liberty finished the game hitting 50.0 percent (31-of-62) from the floor, including 42.9 percent (15-of-35) from three-point range. VMI finished the contest connecting on 49.1 percent (28-of-57) of their shots, including 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from three-point range, despite Liberty leading the Big South Conference in three-point field goal defense.

The Flames won the rebound war, nearly doubling the Keydets number, 41-25.

Smith led the Liberty charge with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting, as five Flames reached double figures. Anderson tallied a career-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-8 from three-point range. McLean tallied his third-straight double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 points. Bannister chipped in 12 points and seven assists, while Ohman rounded out Liberty's top scorers with 12 points and five rebounds.

VMI was led by Chavis Holmes who tallied a game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while his twin brother Travis Holmes added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. Bell added 14 points in the losing cause.

Liberty returns to action on Saturday when they travel to take on arch rival Radford. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., inside the Dedmon Center.