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Red Foxes Place All Five Starters In Double Figures En Route To Victory Over Flames
The Flames made a late charge to cut a sizable lead to just one with 5:25 left in the contest, but Liberty scored just four points over the remainder of the game en route to dropping an 83-69 decision to Marist, Tuesday evening, at the Vines Center.
Marist (6-6) scored the first 11 points of the game and held the Flames scoreless over the first six minutes of action as a jumper by Will Whittington gave the Red Foxes an 11-0 lead at the 16:02 mark of the first half, while the Flames didn't get on the scoreboard until Anthony Smith (Fr., G, Plano, Texas) took a feed from Eric Bigby (Jr., F, Meade, Md.) for a lay-up with 13:40 left in the first half.
The Red Foxes continued to maintain a sizeable first-half lead as a three-pointer by Whittington at the 8:38 mark gave Marist a 13-point lead, 21-8, while the visitors maintained the double-digit lead until a jumper by Russell Monroe (So., C, Alma, Mich.) at the 2:52 mark, followed by a pair of free throws by Rell Porter (So., F, Pittsburg, Texas) 50 seconds later cut the lead to seven, 33-26. James Smith connected on a tip-in in the final seconds to give Marist a eight-point lead at the break, 37-29.
Liberty (4-10) came out on fire in the second half as a lay-up by Bigby cut Marist's lead to four points, 43-39, at the 17:39 mark. After a lay-up by Ryan Stliphen on the following possession, the Flames reeled off 11-straight points to take a five-point lead, 50-45, on a lay-up by Smith at the 12:49 mark.
However, Marist put together its own string and scored eight unanswered points to take a three-point lead, 53-50, on a lay-up by Jared Jordan with 10:52 left to play in the contest. Liberty was able to trim the lead back to one point on two separate occasions, including on a Doug Stewart (So., G, Sanford, N.C.) free throw at the 5:25 mark.
However that would be as close as the Flames would get as Marist converted on 9-of-12 free throw attempts from the line and held Liberty to just four points over the final five minutes of action to secure the victory.
Marist placed all five players in double figures with Whittington and Jordan netting 18 points as Whittington was 6-of-12 from the floor, while Jordan was 7-of-19 from the field. Stliphen followed with 14 points, while Hood (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Smith (10 points and 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles.
The Flames were paced by Blair as he scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Smith and Hubbard each added 10 points with Hubbard tying for rebounding honors with eight boards.
The Flames return to Big South Conference action on Saturday as they travel to Lexington, Va. to face the Keydets of VMI at 8 p.m.