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Flames to Close Out 2010 at Gardner-Webb Friday

December 30, 2010  Boiling Springs, N.C.  RSS
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Liberty point guard Jesse Sanders heads into Friday's contest leading the Big South in assists, averaging 6.4 per game.

Liberty point guard Jesse Sanders heads into Friday's contest leading the Big South in assists, averaging 6.4 per game.

Game Day Central

After beginning the conference season with an unprecedented 2-0 start, the Liberty men's basketball team jumps back into Big South action, travelling to Boiling Springs, N.C., to take on the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb, Friday. Last season, the Flames halted the Runnin' Bulldogs during both regular-season meetings to take a 4-3 edge in the all-time series. Tipoff inside Paul Porter Arena is slated for 5:30 p.m.

Friday's contest marks only the eighth meeting between Liberty and Gardner-Webb with the Flames holding a 4-3 edge all-time. The two squads first met during the 1975-76 season, resulting in a 104-88 Gardner-Webb win in Boiling Springs, N.C. on Dec. 6, 1975. The Flames travelled to Gardner-Webb again the following season, with the Runnin' Bulldogs picking up their second-straight win over the Flames, 127-97, on Jan. 22, 1977.

Last season, the Flames took both contests to gain the advantage in the series. In the first meeting on Jan. 14, Liberty bested Gardner-Webb inside the Vines Center, 68-57. Gardner-Webb's C.J. Hailey finished with a game-high 20-points. Kyle Ohman led the way for the Flames, garnering 17 tallies to become the 21st member of Liberty's 1,000-point club.

Nearly a month later, Liberty picked up its first-ever win inside the Paul Porter Arena on Feb. 13. Evan Gordon and Jeremy Anderson each garnered 17 tallies, to lead the Flames past Gardner-Webb, 69-61.

Gardner-Webb enters Friday's contest with a 6-8 record overall and a 1-1 posting in conference play. The Runnin Bulldogs are currently on a four-game skid, with losses to Elon (90-82), Oklahoma (71-58), Arizona State (71-48) and Louisville (78-49). However, after playing six-straight games on the road, the Runnin' Bulldogs return to Paul Porter Arena, where they hold a 2-0 record this season.

Jon Moore leads Gardner-Webb with 15.5 points per game, but is currently on the shelf due to an injury suffered in the Runnin' Bulldogs' game against Arizona State (Dec. 11). Moore is expected to return to the court late January/early February. 

Behind Moore is Stefon Johnson, who is currently averaging 9.3 points per game. Josh Henley is the Runnin' Bulldogs leading rebounder, grabbing 7.1 per contest, and Luke Davis is fifth in the conference in assists, dishing out 3.9 per game.