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Speaks' 28 Points Lead to Key Road Win
|Liberty's Tavares Speaks posted a career-high 28 points in the Flames' 82-80 win at Campbell, Wednesday night.|
Playing less than an hour away from his hometown of Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday evening, Tavares Speaks led the Liberty men's basketball team with a career-high 28 points, helping the Flames pick up an 82-80 victory over Campbell. The win against the Big South North Division opponent inside Gore Arena marks Liberty's first conference road victory of the season.
Liberty led by as much as 13 with 9:33 to go in the contest, but the Fighting Camels stormed back, cutting the Flames' lead to two. With Campbell having a chance to tie or win the game in the final 10 seconds, Liberty was able to thwart a pair of layup attempts by Darian Hooker and Darius Leonard, securing the crucial road victory.
Speaks' 28-point performance comes just four days after a 27-point effort by John Caleb Sanders in Liberty's Saturday game against Gardner-Webb. The Sugar Land, Texas native followed up with 18 points against the Camels. Davon Marshall rounded out Liberty's double-digit scorers with 12 tallies on the night.
Campbell point guard Trey Freeman paced the Camels with 22 points, followed by Leonard (17), Hooker and Marvelle Harris (13).
Liberty shot 50.9 percent (28-of-55) from the field in the contest, compared to 44.4 percent (28-of-63) for Campbell. The Flames capitalized in the paint, outscoring the Camels, 40-26.
With the win, Liberty moves to 9-17 on the season and 5-7 in conference action. Campbell falls to 10-16 overall and 5-7 in Big South play.
Leonard put the Fighting Camels on the board first with back-to-back baskets. The Flames countered with an 11-0 run highlighted by six points from Speaks and a Marshall three-pointer. Speaks cemented the burst by picking the pocket of Antwon Oliver and taking it to the rack for a fast break dunk at 13:20. Just under the 12-minute mark, Harris answered on the other end with a two-handed jam to pull the Camels within five.
Campbell continued to chip away at the Liberty lead in the ensuing minutes. A Freeman jumper at 8:14 put the home team within one. Following a made free throw by Joel Vander Pol, Leonard knotted the contest at 18 with a jumper.
Liberty led by as much as four points during the remaining minutes of the opening stanza. Harris gave the Camels a two-point lead with a minute left, sinking a pair of free throws. Sanders answered on the other end, nailing a trey with 33 ticks on the clock to give Liberty a 35-34 halftime lead.
Early in the second period, Campbell evened the contest at 36, but the Flames answered with a 6-0 surge capped by a Speaks layup at 18:14. The Camels pulled within two just over two minutes later. However, Liberty began to gradually create distance. Speaks notched his new career high for points with two made free throws at 12:10. Marshall followed up with a three-pointer 36 seconds later, putting the Flames ahead by 11, 61-50.
Campbell, of course, did not go away, outscoring the Flames, 11-3 in the final five minutes. However, the late surge was not enough, as Liberty held off the Camels for the 82-80 final.
Campbell remains at Gore Arena, Saturday, playing host to VMI. Game time is slated for 2 p.m., with the contest airing live on MASN.
Liberty returns to the Vines Center, Saturday, squaring off with North Division leader, High Point. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Liberty Channel, ESPN3, ESPN Full Court and MASN.