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Flames and Bulldogs Square Off in Round Two

March 5, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty takes on No. 1 seed UNC Asheville on Thursday evening, inside the Justice Center.

Liberty takes on No. 1 seed UNC Asheville on Thursday evening, inside the Justice Center.

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The No. 4 seed Liberty Flames will travel in the semifinal round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship on Thursday, when they take on No. 1 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs, inside the Justice Center, in a win-or-go-home contest. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

Thursday's contest will be televised on ESPNU with Bob Wischusen providing play-by-play, Mike Kelley adding color commentary and Melissa Knowles 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.

Liberty Update
Anthony Smith tallied a career-high 30 points and TeeJay Bannister dished out a Big South Championship record 14 assists as the Flames avenged last season's quarterfinal exist, by beating the team that eliminated them, the VMI Keydets. The Flames won by 14 points, 103-88.

On Saturday the Flames secured home court advantage in the first round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship with a 78-71 triumph against arch-rival Radford. Anthony Smith led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting. B.J. Jenkins added 18 in the win.

The victory over the Highlanders broke a three-game losing streak. It marked the first time all season since the opening three games that the Flames had dropped three games in a row. The most recent setback was an 81-79 defeat against VMI on Feb. 26. Smith led Liberty with 23 points.

The second setback in the recent losing streak was a 79-68 defeat at nonconference foe Longwood on Feb. 22. Smith led the Flames with 24 points, while Alex McLean chipped in 23 point in the losing cause.

Liberty versus UNC Asheville
Tonight's contest marks the 42nd all-time meeting between the two schools in basketball. UNC Asheville leads the series, 24-17. The Flames have won five of their last six meetings with UNC Asheville, inside the Vines Center. But, when traveling to the Justice Center, the Flames are 2-4 over their last six games.

Led by TeeJay Bannister's 13 points and eight assists, Liberty dropped a narrow 74-70 contest in their Jan. 12 game inside the Justice Center. Anthony Smith scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting to help pace Liberty to an 83-54 triumph against the Bulldogs on Feb. 9, inside the Vines Center, handing UNC Ashevill its first conference loss of the season.

All-Time Series Results
Feb. 9, 2008 W (83-54) Lynchburg
Jan. 12, 2008 L (70-74) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 30, 2007 W (80-65) Lynchburg
Jan. 6, 2007 L (77-84) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 6, 2006 L (81-83) * Lynchburg
Jan. 25, 2006 L (65-77) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 24, 2005 W (92-80) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 22, 2005 W (72-71) Lynchburg
Feb. 4, 2004 W (82-68) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 8, 2004 W (84-72) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 2003 W (73-72) Lynchburg
Jan. 5, 2003 L (80-81) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 2002 L (69-85) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 8, 2002 L (54-68) Lynchburg
Mar. 1, 2001 W (60-48) Roanoke, Va.
Feb. 10, 2001 L (54-73) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 23, 2001 L (52-59) Lynchburg
Mar. 2, 2000 L (63-77) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 2000 L (68-82) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 15, 2000 W (70-62) Lynchburg
Feb. 25, 1999 L (98-106) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 17, 1999 L (86-89) * Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 9, 1999 L (72-77) Lynchburg
Feb. 27, 1998 L (42-46) Lynchburg
Feb. 9, 1998 L (59-75) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 10, 1998 L (60-70) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 1997 L (65-68) ** Lynchburg
Jan. 11, 1997 L (55-64) Asheville, N.C.
Mar. 1, 1996 W (73-60) Lynchburg
Feb. 9, 1996 W (65-54) Lynchburg
Jan. 13, 1996 L (48-66) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 9, 1995 L (67-73) * Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 12, 1995 L (46-57) Lynchburg
Feb. 10, 1994 W (56-51) Lynchburg
Jan. 13, 1994 W (79-71) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 22, 1993 L (55-58) Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 1, 1993 W (80-73) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 21, 1993 W (73-50) Lynchburg
Mar. 5, 1992 W (85-54) Anderson, S.C.
Feb. 10, 1992 L (77-82) Asheville, N.C.
Jan. 23, 1992 W (90-76) Lynchburg
* - Overtime Game
** - Double Overtime Game

Current Flames With Notable Games Versus UNC Asheville
Anthony Smith (18 points vs. UNCA, Feb. 9, 2008)
Alex McLean (13 points and 10 rebounds vs. UNCA, Feb. 9, 2008)
B.J. Jenkins (13 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals vs.
UNCA, Feb. 9, 2008)
TeeJay Bannister (13 points and eight assists at UNCA, Jan. 12, 2008)
Kyle Ohman (14 points and four assists at UNCA, Jan. 12, 2008)
Alex McLean (13 points and seven rebounds vs. UNCA, Jan. 30, 2007)
Alex McLean (15 points and eight rebounds at UNCA, Jan. 6, 2007)
Anthony Smith (11 points on 4-of-5 shooting vs. UNCA, Jan. 30, 2007)

Ritchie McKay Reaches Liberty First
Head Coach Ritchie McKay became the first Liberty coach to notch 16 wins in his inaugural season with the program. Jeff Meyer and Dale Gibson each tallied 15 wins in their first season.

Liberty Matches or Breaks Five Records on Tuesday
Liberty matched or broke five records during their 103-88 victory over VMI on Tuesday. Liberty connected on 17 three-point field goals, a Big South Championship and Vines Center record. Liberty's 26 assists, TeeJay Bannister's 14 assists were also Vines Center records. Kyle Ohman's seven three-point field goals tied a Big South Championship and Vines Center record, while VMI and Liberty combined for 29 threepoint field goals, another Big South Championship record.

Liberty in the Big South Championship
Liberty holds a 16-14 all-time record in the Big South Championship. The Flames are 4-5 all-time in the semifinal round of the tournament. Liberty's victory on Tuesday was the first time the Flames had won a Big South Championship game since its 89-44 win over High Point to claim the conference crown in 2004.

Anthony Smith Breaks Three-Point Record
Anthony Smith has tallied 83 three-point field goals this season, breaking Matt Hildebrand's three-point field goal record (73) for a season. Hildebrand set his mark in 1994. Smith has attempted 199 shots from behind the arc, tying Travis Eisentrout's record of 199 in 2002. Despite attempting so many treys, Smith's success rate of 41.7 serves as the fourth highest in program history, while attempting over 74 more threepointers then anybody in the Top 5 in the Liberty annals.

McKay Versus the Big South Conference
Head coach Ritchie McKay is 9-7 all-time against the Big South Conference. Two of the nine 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.

When Holding Opponents Under 70
The Flames are 12-5 when their opponents score less than 70 points and 4-10 when their opposition tallies more than 70 points. Liberty's wins over Niagara (86-81), VMI (87-81), Radford (78-71) and VMI (103-88) on Tuesday are the three occasions when Liberty won a game while allowing
over 70 points.

January vs. February
Liberty went 6-2 in the month of January before going 2-6 in February.

Alex McLean One of Three
Alex McLean is one of three players in the Big South Conference to rank in the Top 6 in the conference in both scoring (15.7) and rebounding (9.0).

Liberty On Mark
Liberty is the only team in the conference with two players connecting on over 50 percent of their field goal attempts. Alex McLean is hitting 55.7 percent from the field, while Anthony Smith is connecting 52.0 percent.