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Flames Cruise to 74-57 Victory Over Nyack
TeeJay Bannister dished out seven assists on Liberty's first seven field goals on Saturday, as the Flames won their sixth-straight home game, defeating the Nyack Warriors, 74-57, inside the Vines Center.
Liberty moves back to .500 on the season with a 7-7 record. With the loss, the Warriors fall to 4-8.
Nyack head coach John D. Jones is a Liberty (1989) alumnus and a former member of the Flames' coaching staff (1996-98), and he had his team on top early.
The Warriors quickly jumped out to a 5-2 lead after Brian Roberts opened up the game with a three-point bucket and a transition dunk, giving the Warriors the early advantage at 16:50.
Liberty answered back, staking itself to a 13-5 lead, courtesy of an 11-0 run, capped by an Alex McLean bucket at 14:22.
The Flames pushed the lead to 18-8, after another McLean bucket via a Bannister assist at the 12:03 mark.
Nyack managed to cut the lead down to four, 24-20, after a 12-6 surge, finished by a Roberts field goal at 7:52.
Anthony Smith's fourth three-point bucket of the first stanza extended the Liberty lead up to nine, 33-24, at 5:31. Sheanan Martinez of Nyack responded with a trey of his own at 4:10 to cut the Liberty advantage back to six, 33-27.
A Tracey Quarles bucket and two McLean makes from the charity stripe closed out the half, sending Liberty into the intermission with a 40-32 advantage.
Liberty shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23), including 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from three-point range during the first 20 minutes. Smith tallied 17 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting and 5-of-7 from three-point range. Bannister dished out seven assists in the first half.
Nyack finished the first half shooting 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from the floor while outrebounding the Flames, 17-13.
The Flames came out of the intermission holding a 15-7 advantage, entering the second media timeout, extending its lead to 55-39. Russell Monroe hit a 15-footer from the corner off a Kyle Ohman pass at 11:22, capping the spurt.
Liberty then extended its lead past 20 for the first time in the game when McLean took a B.J. Jenkins pass and laid it in with 8:33 remaining in the contest. The field goal gave the Flames a 62-42 advantage.
Head coach Ritchie McKay then emptied his bench, as 14 Liberty players made an appearance in the contest, helping the Flames cruise to an easy victory.
Liberty shot over 50 percent from the floor for the second-straight contest, as the Flames connected on 53.5 percent (23-of-43) of their shots. The Flames were also successful on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from three-point range.
Nyack struggled from the floor in the second half, finishing the contest hitting 36.7 percent (22-of-60) of its shots. After hitting 50 percent from three-point land in the opening stanza, Nyack was 1-of-9 in the second half from beyond the arc, concluding the contest at 29.4 percent (5-of-17).
Smith tallied 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, marking the first time in the junior's career he has scored 20 points in back-to-back games. Smith scored a career-high 24 points at George Mason on Dec. 30. McLean collected his fifth double-double of the season and the 16th of his career, as he scored 18 markers and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Jenkins added a career-high seven assists, Ohman chipped in 11 points, while Bannister finished with 10 assists to lead the Liberty charge.
Nyack was led by Stedford McLeod, who scored 10 points off the bench to lead the Warriors. Roberts, Adam Bauman and Martinez all tallied nine points in a losing cause.
Liberty concludes its home non-conference schedule on Tuesday, when Kentucky Christian invades the Vines Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.