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Flames Fall Late At Longwood, 76-70
The Lancers opened the game with a 12-8 advantage after Maurice Sumter hit a three-point basket from the top of the key at the 12:31 mark.
Longwood extended its lead to its largest of the half at 10 points, courtesy of a 11-5 run that was finished by a lay-up from Clayton Morgan with 7:37 left in the half to give the Lancers a 10-point lead, 23-13.
The Flames slowly chipped away at Longwood's lead, outscoring the Lancers by six over the remainder of the period, 19-13, as Alex McLean hit a three-pointer from the corner cutting the home team's lead to four, 36-32, at the break.
With his first basket of the game at the 16:36 mark, Larry Blair passed Bailey Alston for second all-time on the Liberty scoring list. Alston compiled 2,115 career points during his three-year career from 1988-90.
The Flames shot 40.6 percent from the floor during the first period on 13-of-32 shooting, while the Lancers were a little better, hitting 16-of-32 attempts from the floor (50.0 percent).
After limiting the Lancers' leading scorer Sumter to only seven points in the Dec. 9 meeting at the Vines Center, the senior forward lit Liberty up for 13 first half points.
The Flames started the second half on a 10-4 run, capped by back-to-back free throws from Blair with 16:33 left in the game, staking Liberty to a 42-40 lead.
The Lancers then went on a 26-15 run, taking a 66-57 lead when Kirk Williams scored in the paint with 4:09 left in the game. The Flames got back within two at 70-68 on the heels of an 11-4 run, finished off by a Blair coast-to-coast lay-up with 45 seconds left.
Dwight Brewington fouled on the in bounds, sending the Lancers to the line and into the double bonus. However, the Lancers ended up hitting six-straight free throws to put the game out of reach for the Flames.
Blair scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting while grabbing six rebounds and dishing two assists. Blair now stands 15 points away from breaking Tony Dunkin's Big South all-time scoring mark of 2,151 career points.
McLean put in 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Brewington scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in the loss.
Clayton Morgan scored 13 second-half points including 8-of-8 from the charity strip on his way to a team-high 20 points and six rebounds. Sumter was limited to six points in the second half to finish with 19.
Kevin Swecker was a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc for 13 points, while Brandon Giles scored 12 points, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line in the second half sinking any hopes of a comeback.
The Flames ended the night hitting 44.6 percent from the floor on 29-of-65 shooting, while the Lancers edged Liberty at 46.3 percent on 25-of-54 from the floor. The difference was Longwood's excellent free throw shooting as they hit 19-of-21 in the second half.
Liberty returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Niagara of the MAAC. The game is set to tip at 4 p.m. and is apart of the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters.