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Curry, Ohman and Smith Help LU Top Virginia
The Flames jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, courtesy of eight straight Ohman points, including two three-point buckets. Curry capped the run with a jumper from the left elbow at 15:35.
Virginia cut the deficit to four points, 13-9, via a 7-3 spurt, capped by Jerome Meyinsse's rebound and put back at 12:10. Liberty extended its lead back up to eight points, 17-9, when Curry hit a lay-up at 10:34.
Curry scored four straight points, with his second field goal of the spurt coming at 4:21, but that was all the offense Liberty could muster during a 17-4 Virginia run. The Cavaliers capped the run on a Sylven Landesburg bucket at 3:20, charging to the 26-22 advantage.
Liberty made a final push to close out the half with an advantage, retaking the lead, 35-32, via a 13-6 run. During Liberty's run Ohman hit his fifth and sixth three-point buckets of the opening stanza, while Anthony Smith tallied two lay-ups. The Flames were able to enter the intermission with the three-point lead, courtesy of Curry's contested trey as time expired.
Ohman led Liberty with 17 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting, helping the Flames connect on 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from the floor in the first period. Liberty also connected on 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from beyond the arc.
Virginia was a tad better from the floor, connecting on 47.8 percent (11-of-23), including 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from three-point land.
The second half started out neck-and-neck, with Virginia taking a brief one-point lead, 41-40, after a Landesburg free throw at 17:16. Liberty retook the lead, 43-41, when Smith tallied a trey from the wing at 16:15.
A Calvin Baker trey at 15:55 gave the Cavaliers another one point lead, 44-43. The Flames then scored five-straight points to take a four-point advantage, 48-44. Curry connected on a trey from the wing and Smith tallied a bucket in the paint at 15:01.
Two Smith free throws and Curry's fourth trey of the game at 12:33 gave the Flames another four-point lead, 53-49, coming after Sammy Zeglinski tallied four-straight markers for the Cavaliers.
Back-to-back three-point buckets by Zeglinski gave the Cavaliers the 59-57 advantage at 10:05. Liberty then went on an 8-0 run to grab a six-point lead, 65-59. Johnny Stephene hit a three-point bucket from the corner at 7:55 to cap the run.
The Cavaliers and Flames battled back and forth, as Virginia managed to cut Liberty's lead down to one point on four separate occasions. However, the Flames remained steadfast, going 8-of-11 from the charity stripe in the closing two minutes of action to hold on for the victory.
The victory served as Liberty's second win in eight tries against Virginia, and first since the Flames took home a 69-64 triumph on Jan. 7, 1998. With 9,263 fans in attendance for the four-point victory, the contest marked the highest attended game Liberty has won, either home or on the road.
The previous road high to see a Liberty victory was 6,898 fans at the Flames' victory over Wisconsin-Stevens Point on March 16, 1983. Overall, the largest crowd to see a Liberty victory was 8,515 on March 6, 2004, when the Flames captured the 2004 Big South Championship over High Point, inside the Vines Center.
The Flames shot a stout 69.6 percent (16-of-23) from the floor in the second half, finishing 56.6 percent (30-of-53) on the night. Liberty shot 50 percent (13-of-26) from three-point range.
Ohman tallied a career-high 26 points on 9-of-12, including 6-of-8 from three-point land. Curry matched Ohman's career night with 26 points of his own on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-8 from three-point land. Smith chipped in 21 point on 8-of-14 shooting, while dishing out six assists. Jesse Sanders led point, dishing out a career-high eight assists.
Curry, Ohman and Smith became the first Liberty trio to each tally 20 or more points in the same game since since Feb. 21, 2007, when Alex McLean (40), Larry Blair (28) and Dwight Brewington (26) all reached the mark in a 118-108 Flames' victory at VMI.
Virginia finished the contest connecting on 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the floor, while succeeding on 40.6 percent (13-of-32) of its tries from beyond the arc.
Zeglinski led the Cavaliers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-10 from three-point range, all of which came in the second half. Landesberg, Virginia's highly touted freshman, finished with 17 points, marking the first game of the McDonald's All-American's collegiate career that he failed to reach the 20-point plateau. Mike Scott pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds, helping the Cavaliers win the rebound battle, 37-23.
Liberty returns to action on Friday, when they host Coker in the first game of the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. inside the Vines Center. South Carolina State and William & Mary are also participating in the tournament and will close out Friday's action at 8:15 p.m.