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Johnson's 20-Point Performance Puts Liberty Over Central Penn
Liberty men's basketball redshirt senior forward James Johnson guided the Flames with a career-high 20 points in their 94-65 victory over Central Penn, Friday night.
Johnson went 9-of-10 from the field, helping contribute to Liberty's season-high 61.3 shooting percentage. The big man also made 2-of-4 free throws to round out his scoring total.
Liberty concluded the night with a season-high point total in the paint, 58-36. The Flames also capitalized beyond the three-point arc (21-9), off turnovers (26-19) and from the bench (44-22).
With the win, Liberty moves to 5-6 on the season. The Knights move to 8-4.
Liberty jumped out to a 13-point lead at the 11:31 mark in the first half thanks in part to a 6-0 run. After a Reid fast break layup, Smith cemented the run with a tip-in and an authoritative one-handed jam along the baseline, making it 24-11, Flames.
The Knights stormed back in the ensuing 3:48, outscoring the Flames, 13-4, during the span. A put back by Tucker Tyree cut the visitors' deficit to three at 7:43, 28-25.
Liberty pulled away from the Knights in the remaining minutes of the half, outscoring Central Penn, 23-10. An Ethan Layer three-pointer with six seconds on the clock sent the Flames into the locker room with a 51-35 lead.
Johnson led all scorers with 12 points in the opening period, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-3 at the foul line. Andre Batte paced the Knights with seven points.
Liberty shot a season-high 68.8 percent (22-of-32) during the first half, while Central Penn finished with 47.1 percent (16-of-34). Liberty controlled the paint in the period, outpointing the Knights, 40-22.
During the second half, the Knights climbed within 12 points by the 12:22 mark. Liberty began to find its rhythm downtown receiving three-pointers from Kemrite and Reid. Reid's trey at 10:26 gave the Flames a 67-49 advantage.
Johnson closed out his scoring with a thunderous dunk at the 4:55 mark. In the remaining minutes, freshmen Ezra Talbert and Jordan Dembley entered the contest, recording the first baskets of their collegiate careers en route to the 94-65 final.
The Flames hit the road Monday, squaring off with the Princeton Tigers. Liberty looks to avenge last season's 80-74 loss to the Ivy League member (Jan. 4, 2014). Tipoff inside Jadwin Gym is slated for 7 p.m.