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Johnson's 20-Point Performance Puts Liberty Over Central Penn

December 19, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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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.

Along with Johnson, Big South Freshman of the Week Peter Moller finished with 14 tallies, while David Andoh (11), A.C. Reid (11) and Andrew Smith (10) also had double-digit scoring figures.

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.