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Liberty Hosts VMI Tonight

February 26, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The VMI Keydets invade the Vines Center tonight at 7 p.m.

The VMI Keydets invade the Vines Center tonight at 7 p.m.

Game Notes (PDF)
Live Video
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Game Day Central

Game Preview
Liberty opens up its final homestand of the regular season, as the Virginia Military Institute Keydets enter the Vines Center, Tuesday evening. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Tuesday's contest will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and the Flames Television Network with Ray Jones providing play-by-play, Tim Scarborough adding color commentary and Samantha Steele patrolling the sidelines. There will be a radio broadcast that 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 two-game losing streak. The most recent setback was a 79-68 defeat at non-conference foe Longwood. Anthony Smith led the Flames with 24 points, while Alex McLean chipped in 23 point in the losing cause.

Prior to Friday's defeat, Liberty dropped an 87-82 contest at Charleston Southern on Feb. 18. Smith and TeeJay Bannister each tallied 20 points in the losing effort. Bannister added 12 assists to go with his career high in points. Liberty started off the "Beach Trip" with a 65-51 triumph at Coastal Carolina on Feb. 16. Smith became the 20th player in Liberty program history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau, as the junior scored 17 points in the victory.

Liberty versus VMI
Tonight's contest marks the 17th all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. The series stands tied, 8-8. Liberty looks to sweep the regular season series for the second time in series history. Liberty swept the Keydets during the regular season last year, before falling in the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship.

Liberty is 6-2 all time inside the Vines Center against VMI. The Keydets handed the Flames a 69-61 setback on Nov. 30, 1990, in what served as the first basketball contest inside the Vines Center. Liberty won the following six-straight games against VMI inside the Vines Center before last year's defeat in the Big South Championship.

All-Time Series Results
Jan. 28, 2008 W (87-81) Lexington, Va.
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 VMI
Anthony Smith (22 points and four rebounds at VMI, Jan. 28, 2008)
Jeremy Anderson (20 points on 7-of-9 shooting at VMI, Jan. 28, 2008)
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)

McKay Versus the Big South Conference
Head coach Ritchie McKay is 7-6 all-time against the Big South Conference. Two of the seven 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.

Bannister Chasing Scarborough
TeeJay Bannister has 193 assists this season, his first with the Flames. Tim Scarborough, color analyst for the Flames Television Network accumulated 194 assists in his four-year career for the Flames. The former Liberty guard played in 87 career games at Liberty from 1987-90, so if Bannister passes Scarborough tonight, he will have done so in 59 fewer games.

When Holding Opponents Under 70
The Flames are 12-5 when their opponents score less than 70 points and 2-9 when their opposition tallies more than 70 points. Liberty's wins over Niagara (86-81) and VMI (87-81) are the two occasions when Liberty won a game while allowing over 70 points.

Alex McLean Grabs 500th Career Rebound
Senior Alex McLean pulled down his 500th career rebound against Winthrop on Feb. 12. The milestone makes McLean the only two-year letterwinner in program history to accomplish such a feat in two years. All other members of Liberty's 500 rebound club played at least three seasons on Liberty Mountain. McLean joined Jason Dixon (467) and Dan Kennard (471) as the only two-year letterwinners to reach the 400 rebound milestone. Dixon and McLean are the only ones to accomplish the feat since Liberty's move to NCAA Division I.

Alex McLean 500th Rebound Take Two
Senior Alex McLean became the 48th player in Big South history to reach the 500 rebound plateau and only the second player in league history to play only two seasons in the conference and reach the milestone.

Anthony Smith Reaches 1,000 Career Points
Junior Anthony Smith scored 17 points while eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau on Feb. 16 at Coastal Carolina. With 15 points scored on Jan. 21 versus Coastal Carolina, 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 has reached the 1,000-point plateau.

Next on the Scoring List for Anthony Smith
With 1,048 career points, Anthony Smith sits 18th all-time in the Liberty annals for scoring, having passed Mike Goad (1,013) with his 20-point performance Feb. 18 at Charleston Southern. Next on the list is Mike Coleman (1,065), who owns the 17th spot on Liberty's career scoring list. Coleman was a four-year letterwinner from 1989-92.

Freshman First
Jeremy Anderson became the first Flame freshman to score 20 or more points in a game since David Dees scored 22 points against St. Joesph's in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Anderson hit the mark exactly (20) on Jan. 28 at VMI.

Bannister Breaks Assist Record
Senior TeeJay Bannister dished out 12 assists on Feb. 18 at Charleston Southern, helping him pass Marcus White's (181) Liberty Division I season record for assists. White set the record in 1997, the last year Liberty reached the 20-win plateau.

Bannister now has 193 assists this season. If Bannister holds his season average, he will finish the year with the second-best assist number during a season in program history. Ed Gomes dished out 256 assists in 1976. With his 7.4 assist average, Bannister could have 216 assists through the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship.