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Flames basketball part of ESPN marathon

The Liberty Flames hosted its first-ever ACC opponent — the Clemson Tigers — in a packed Vines Center Tuesday morning. The game drew even more fans than usual, as it was televised nationally for ESPN’s second annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, which featured 12 consecutive live college basketball games in 24 hours on Tuesday. Liberty’s match-up was game six of the marathon.

Last season, the Flames went down to the wire with the Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum, as Clemson edged Liberty 80-75. The No. 22 Tigers pulled away with a 79-39 win Tuesday.

One Liberty grad was more excited than most to be a part of the televised game. Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary graduate Eddie Verstraete was charged with the task of mixing the audio for the game on ESPN HD.

"It was a humbling and exciting experience to come back to Liberty and be a part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-off Marathon broadcast," he said. "The producer, director and announcers were wonderful to work with and our crew did a wonderful job covering it."

Verstraete, who graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2004, M.A.R. in 2006 and M.R.E. in 2007, has been working as a freelancer for ESPN for four years.

Liberty students were excused from classes for the 10 a.m. game, and faculty and staff also had the option to attend. The crowd exceeded capacity as more than 8,100 people packed the Vines Center.

On Wednesday morning, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. addressed the student body at convocation, thanking them for a great show of school spirit.

"I’ve always heard that our real strength is our students, and that came through on the television program yesterday."

He said although the Flames did not perform well against nationally ranked Clemson, "the real victory was the national exposure … the world really saw what a Christian university is all about."