Flames NewsFlames Home > News
First Half Burst Pushes Winthrop by Liberty
The Liberty men's basketball team stepped onto the Vines Center court, Thursday night, looking to avoid starting 0-7 in Big South action for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Unfortunately for the Flames, the Eagles jumped out to a 16-2 lead early. Despite Liberty cutting the deficit to six in the second half, Winthrop held off the Flames to take the contest, 71-56.
Liberty (6-14, 0-7 Big South) shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49), while Winthrop 9-9 (4-3 Big South) shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57). Liberty went scoreless from three-point land (0-for-10) for the first since going 0-for-8 in an 84-81 win against High Point (Feb. 1, 2005).
Winthrop's Keon Moore finished with a game-high 22 points, followed by Keon Johnson with 16 tallies.
After Smith started the contest with a dunk, the Eagles proceeded to go on a 16-0 run to lead by 14 at the 11:34 mark. Winthrop held the Flames to 15 points in the opening period, carrying a 29-15 lead into the locker room at halftime. Liberty's first half point total narrowly missed the Vines Center record for fewest points in a half (14), which occurred versus College of Charleston on Jan. 26, 1991.
Liberty finished the half shooting 23.1 percent (6-of-26), compared to 41.4 percent (12-of-29) for the Eagles.
Keon Johnson paced all scorers at the half with eight points. Smith led the Flames with seven points and eight rebounds.
Liberty opened the second half with a 9-2 run, which included baskets by Smith, Moller, Andoh and Theo Johnson. Keon Moore doused the Flames' hot streak with a three-pointer at 16:52, making it 34-24.
Winthrop went back up by as much as 14 in the ensuing minutes. Liberty clawed back again, cutting to the Eagles' advantage to seven, 48-41, thanks to an A.C. Reid layup at 8:34.
With under seven minutes to play, the Flames received five unanswered points from Moller to cut the deficit to six, 54-48, at the 5:20 mark.
The Eagles eventually boosted the lead back to 15, ending the contest with a Keon Johnson free throw to close out the 71-56 victory.
Liberty returns to action on Saturday, squaring off with Radford. The contest tips off at 4:30, broadcasting live on ESPN3.