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Trio of 20-point Scorers Guide Flames to Victory

February 25, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty men's basketball team stayed on the winning track with another double-digit win, Tuesday night, defeating Longwood inside the Vines Center, 90-76.

John Caleb Sanders paved the way for the Flames (11-19, 5-10 BSC) with 22 points, followed by Antwan Burrus and Tomasz Gielo, who each chipped in 20 points apiece. Gielo's effort tied a career-high in scoring.

The trio's performance marks the first time three Flames have finished with 20 points or more this season and the first since Tavares Speaks (22) Davon Marshall (22) and Sanders (21) accomplished the feat in an 89-72 victory over Campbell (Jan. 29, 2013).

Along with the trio of 20-point scorers, Andrew Smith finished Tuesday's contest with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

After scoring 27 points against the Flames earlier in the season, Lucas Woodhouse concluded the night with 24 points for Longwood (8-22, 3-12 BSC), knocking down six three-pointers. Tristan Carey followed up with 20 points.

In addition to finishing with its second highest scoring effort of the season, the Flames also ended the contest with their third best shooting performance of the year (57.6 percent, 34-of-59).

For the second straight contest, Liberty knocked down seven three-pointers. Liberty outscored the Lancers in the paint, 50-22, marking the third time the Flames have posted 50 or more down low, this season. The Flames also finished with eight turnovers for the third straight game.

Longwood shot 41.8 percent (28-of-67), finishing with 12 three-pointers.

Liberty and Longwood traded baskets in the early going, until the Lancers broke up the stalemate with a 7-2 burst. The Flames responded with a dunk from Smith and a Gielo three-pointer to knot the contest, 15-15, at 12:44.

After a Ziegler layup gave the Lancers a one-point lead at 9:17, Liberty ourscored the Lancers, 12-2 over the next 3:47. The surge included an 8-0 run, featuring a three-pointer and layup by Sanders and another Gielo trey. The junior's three-ball at 5:30 put the Flames ahead, 35-26.

Longwood made it a four-point game in the closing minutes, but a Sanders layup and Gielo's third three-pointer boosted the Liberty lead back to nine, giving the Flames a 42-33 halftime advantage.

Liberty shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the field in the first half, including 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from three-point range. The Lancers ended the period on 40.6 percent shooting (13-of-32), while going 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from long distance. Liberty controlled the paint, 22-14, and held a 10-6 advantage in points off
turnovers.

Gielo paced the Flames offense with 11 points, followed by Burrus, who had 10 tallies. Zielger led Longwood with nine points.

Woodhouse kick started the second half with a three-pointer to cut the Longwood deficit to six. Liberty responded with a 7-0 run highlighted by two Smith layups and a Sanders trey to pull ahead by 13. Another Woodhouse three-pointer made it 49-39 at 17:22.

Longwood managed to make it an eight-point game at the 10:33 mark, but once again Liberty countered with a 7-0 run. Gielo looked to put the Flames ahead by 16 on three-point attempt, but the ball bounced off the front of the rim. Smith leaped into action to scoop up the loose ball, immediately throwing it down for a two-handed, highlight reel jam to ignite the Vines Center crowd. The rim rattling dunk with 9:20 remaining gave Liberty a 66-51 advantage.

The Lancers were able to climb within nine off another Woodhouse three-pointer at 7:24. Sanders responded with a trey on the opposite end 27 ticks later, allowing Liberty to pull away and ultimately set up the 90-76 final.

Liberty rounds out the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday, playing host to Radford. Tipoff is slated for 4:30 p.m., with the contest airing live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, MASN, ESPN3 and the Big South Network.