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Gielo's 23 Points Leads Liberty to 2nd Straight Win
|Tomasz Gielo finishes with a career-high 23 points versus Delaware, Monday night|
Thanks in part to career-high 23-point performance from Tomasz Gielo, the Liberty men's basketball is off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 15 years. The Flames defeated Delaware, Monday night, inside the Vines Center, 61-55.
Prior to the contest, Liberty had not started a season 2-0 since the 1999-2000 campaign. With the victory, the Flames pick up their first-ever win against the Blue Hens, tying the series at 1-1. Liberty avenged last season's 77-64 defeat against the defending CAA champions in the Bob Carpenter Center (Jan. 1, 2014). Delaware begins the 2014-15 season at 0-1.
Along with his 23-point performance, Gielo also led the way with a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior guard Joe Retic concluded the night with a full stat line, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal. Forwards James Johnson and David Andoh each had nine tallies.
Cazmon Hayes paced Delaware with 17 points, followed by Kory Holder, who had 13.
Liberty shot 37.7 percent (20-of-53) from the field in the contest, holding the Blue Hens to 29.9 percent (20-of-67). Delaware edged Liberty in the paint (22-16), but the Flames capitalized from long distance, outscoring the Blue Hens at the three-point line, 18-9.
Delaware led in the early minutes, but Liberty quickly took a four-point advantage at 13:05 thanks to back-to-back three-pointers from Gielo and A.C. Reid. The Blue Hens answered with six straight points to go up by two before a Retic jumper knotted the contest, 14-14, at the 7:29 mark.
Delaware went on another 6-0 run, until a crowd igniting dunk by Gielo halted the Blue Hens' scoring burst. Chivarsky Corbett swished a three-pointer on the other end to increase Delaware's lead to seven, but Gielo countered the shot with a trey of his own at 4:15, making it 23-19.
The Blue Hens held a three-point lead with time winding down in the period, until Retic drained a three-pointer with five seconds left to tie the contest, 30-30, a halftime.
Retic's trifecta gave him a team-high nine points at intermission, followed by Gielo with eight. Holden led all scorers with 10 points.
Liberty shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26) in the opening period, compared to 37.5 percent (13-of-32) for the Blue Hens.
The Flames began the second half with a five unanswered points off a Johnson jumper and another Gielo three-pointer. After a couple lead changes, the Flames went on a 10-0 run beginning at the 11:52 mark.
Retic helped spark the scoring spree, finding a wide open Gielo, who connected on his fourth trey of the game. Retic continued to facilitate the offense during the run, serving up an alley-oop to Andrew Smith. Hayes cooled the Flames' streak with a layup at 8:34, making it 49-42, Liberty.
Delaware outscored the Flames, 11-2, over the next 3:43 to take a 53-51 advantage. After Gielo tied the contest for the eighth time with free throws, Maurice Jeffers threw down a dunk to give the Blue Hens its final lead of the contest.
Liberty regained the edge with 1:38 left thanks to an Andoh jumper. With the Blue Hens forced to foul, Gielo went to the line three times, sinking 5-of-6 foul shots to set a new career-high and seal the 61-55 victory.
Liberty heads to Blacksburg, Va., on Wednesday to take on ACC member Virginia Tech for the start of the Cancun Challenge. The Hokies and Flames will meet for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. with the contest broadcasting live on ESPN3.