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Liberty Cruises Past Randolph College, Friday Night
Sporting nine new players, the Liberty men's basketball team christened the 2014-15 season with a win, defeating fellow Hill City competitor Randolph College inside the Vines Center Friday night, 69-45.
With the victory, Liberty (1-0) moves to 33-10 all-time in home openers and 20-5 when hosting its first game of the season inside the Vines Center.
Senior forward Tomasz Gielo led the Flames with a game-high 14 points, followed by freshman guard A.C. Reid (12) and junior forward David Andoh (10). Gielo and Andoh had nine and eight rebounds, respectively.
Corey Brown was Randolph's leading scorer with 12 points, while Jason Eddie had 10.
Liberty shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the field, holding the Wildcats to 35.4 percent (17-of-48). Dale Layer's squad also shot 46.7 percent from three-point land, hitting 7-of-13 three-pointers. The Flames outrebounded Randolph, 44-22, and outscored the visitors from the bench, 39-20.
The Wildcats came out hungry in the first half, keeping pace with the Flames in the opening 10 minutes. A pair of three-pointers from Corey Brown and Jacoby Reid put Randolph up 6-4 at the 16:40 mark. The visitors continued to keep it close over the ensuing minutes, knotting the contest, 17-17, thanks to another Brown three-pointer at 10:07.
The Flames broke loose in the remaining minutes of the half, going on a 14-1 run over the next 6:51. Reid capped the burst with a three-pointer at 3:16. Following a Randolph basket, Reid swished another bucket from downtown to put Liberty ahead by 14. The Flames maintained their advantage at halftime, carrying a 38-24 cushion in the locker room.
Gielo led all scorers at the half with 14 points, knocking down 8-of-10 shots at the foul line. Reid had 11 tallies, hitting 3-of-4 shots from long range. Brown and Jason Eddie each had eight points for the Wildcats.
Liberty shot 56.5 percent from the field (13-of-23), while holding the Wildcats to 32.0 percent (8-of-25).
The Flames increased their advantage to 19 in the second half, courtesy of a Peter Moller three-pointer at 18:14.
Making his Liberty debut after redshirting, last season, Ryan Kemrite knocked down a three-ball with 10:04 left, putting Liberty up 21. Redshirt senior James Johnson tacked on layup less than a minute later, making it 54-31, Flames.
With less than four minutes remaining, Andoh knocked down back-to-back jumpers to close out his scoring and give Liberty its largest lead of the game (25). Theo Johnson later capped the night with two free throws in the final minute 1:15 to seal the 69-45 final.
Liberty returns to the Vines Center, Monday, to host Delaware. The Flames look to avenge last season's 77-64 defeat to the Blue Hens on Jan. 1. Game time is slated for 7 p.m., with the contest broadcasting live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, ESPN3, MASN HD and the Big South Network.