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Liberty Drops Tight Contest at Virginia Tech
The Virginia Tech Hokies trudged past the Liberty Flames, 58-46, on Wednesday night, inside Cassell Coliseum.
The loss snapped the Flames' two-game winning streak over the Hokies and inside Cassell Coliseum. Liberty falls to 5-6, while Virginia Tech improves to 6-4.
The Flames jumped out quickly to a 5-0 lead, courtesy of a Rell Porter bucket and a Kyle Ohman three-point field goal at 17:23.
Liberty then stretched the lead to four points, 7-3, when TeeJay Bannister tallied two points in the lane at the 15:20 mark.
Virginia Tech took its first lead of the contest, 8-7, when A.D. Vassallo hit a three-point bucket from the wing at 12:36.
The Flames regained the lead, 13-8, courtesy of back-to-back three-point buckets by Anthony Smith and Ohman, with Smith's coming at 9:18.
Virginia Tech responded by scoring nine-straight points to take a 17-13 lead. During the scoring spurt, Smith picked up two fouls, allowing the Hokies to score four points on one possession. Smith fouled Dorenzo Hudson on a made field goal. During the free shot, Smith and Washington both earned fouls on the missed freebie. The Hokies received the ball courtesy of the possession arrow, prompting a Hank Thorns jumper from the corner at 8:43.
The Flames regained the lead, 19-17, after a pair of B.J. Jenkins free throws and two Alex McLean buckets, his second coming with 4:00 left before the break.
The Hokies tied the game for the third time at 21 when Vassallo was successful on both attempts from the charity stripe with 56.4 seconds remaining in the first stanza.
Liberty took what would be its final lead of the contest going into the intermission when Ohman put back a Jeremy Anderson missed jump with 2.8 seconds remaining, giving the Flames the 23-21 halftime advantage.
Liberty shot 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from the floor in the first period, led by Ohman's eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.
Virginia Tech finished the first half connecting on 36.4 percent (8-of-22), led by Washington's nine points and Vassallo's eight markers.
The Hokies sprinted out of the break to take a 29-23 lead, courtesy of an 8-0 run, which was capped by six-straight points by Malcolm Delaney. A three-point bucket at 16:21 finished the run prior to the second period's first media timeout.
Virginia Tech extended the lead to nine points, 34-25, after another three-point bucket by Delaney and a Washington free throw at 13:58.
The Hokies took the first double-digit lead of the game at 11 points, 45-33, when Thorns hit a three-point bucket at 5:51. The Flames cut the Virginia Tech lead back to seven when Smith hit a contested three-point bucket with 4:42 remaining in the contest. Smith's bucket cut the lead to 45-38.
And that would be as close as Liberty would get, as the Hokies managed to push the lead back to double digits by the game's close.
Neither team shot well from the floor, as the Hokies edged the Flames 39.1 percent (18-of-46) to 38.1 percent (16-of-42).
McLean led the way for the Flames with 14 points and five rebounds. Smith chipped with 11 points and Ohman finished with eight points, all in the first half, and a team-high six caroms.
The Hokies were paced by Washington's 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Vassallo added 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Virginia Tech's leading scorer Jeff Allen, who was averaging 13.0 points per game coming into the contest, was held scoreless until the 4:15 mark in the game, before finishing with 10 points.
Liberty is idle until after Christmas, when the Campbell Camels enter the Vines Center on Dec. 28. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).