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Dunton Collects 100th Career Collegiate Coaching Victory as Liberty Defeats Southern Virginia, 109-64
The Flames wasted no time getting the scoring going as they took the opening tip and scored on their first possession when Damien Hubbard hit a jumper in the lane 26 seconds into the opening period, giving Liberty the 2-0 lead. Hubbard than extended the lead to 4-0 on an identical jumper from the paint with 18:34 left in the period.
The Flames stretched the lead to 7-0 on an Alex McLean lay-up at the 16:48 mark followed by an Anthony Smith free throw at 16:03. Southern Virginia was held scoreless until 15:41 left in the first half when Tanner Johnson hit a jumper from the corner to cut the Flames lead to 7-2.
Once Southern Virginia got on the scoreboard, Liberty continued on an 11-7 run capped by a B.J. Jenkins three-point basket from the corner at 12:08 left in the half, giving the Flames the 18-9 advantage.
The Flames then went on two large runs started by an 11-3 run capped by a lay-up by Larry Blair off a Tyler Baker steal, giving Liberty the 29-12 lead with 8:14 left in the opening period. The Flames continued to break the game open following that run up with a 15-4 run finished off by a Blair three-point basket from the corner at 2:59 in the half, giving Liberty the 44-16 advantage.
Southern Virginia closed out the half on an 11-2 run closing the gap to 46-27 on a David Borland tip-in off a Dallas Rivera miss with 25 seconds remaining. The Flames tried to get one more basket, but Blair's three-point attempt with 1.1 seconds left did not connect as time expired.
The Flames opened the half on a 9-2 run capped by an Anthony Smith lay-up on a Hubbard pass, making it 55-29 with 17:19 remaining in the game. The Flames continued to extend the lead going on a 27-18 run capped off by a McLean lay-up in the paint off a Blair pass, making it an 82-47 game with 7:36 left in the game.
The Flames cruised on a 20-15 run capped by Dominique Jones's lay-up in the paint on a Jenkins pass to make it 102-62. The basket marked Jones' first collegiate points.
Blair led the way with 18 points for the Flames moving him into seventh all-time in the Big South in career scoring and he passed Ed Vickers for sixth all-time on the Liberty all-time scoring list.
Four other Flames scored in double figures as McLean recorded his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Smith scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Jenkins scored a season-high 16 points while connecting on 3-of-6 from three-point range. Baker rounds out the top performers with a career-high 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the three-point arc. Hubbard grabbed a game and career-high 12 rebounds as the Flames out rebounded the Knights 61-22.
Southern Virginia struggled all night from the field finishing the game shooting 31.0 percent on 18-of-58 shooting. Johnson led the Knights with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Johnson, who came into the game hitting on 41.1 percent of his three-point attempts, was only 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Dallas Rivera rounds out the top scorers for the Knights with 13 points.
Dunton's 100 collegiate coaching wins include two seasons he coached the men's basketball program at Marshalltown Community College in Marshalltown, Iowa, the only other program he has served as a head coach.
Tonight marks the first time since the 1987-88 season that the Flames have scored at least 90 points in three-straight games when they accomplished the feat over a four-game span. During the span, the Flames lost to Mount St. Mary's, 105-101 on March 4, 1988. Liberty defeated Ferrum, 104-79 on February 26. Liberty beat West Virginia Wesleyan on February 23, 1988, 117-97 and the streak started on February 20, 1988 when Bluefield beat LU, 100-97.
Liberty returns to action on Saturday when East Carolina comes to the Vines Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and at halftime Karl Hess will be honored with the retirement of his number 11. Hess holds the Liberty all-time scoring record with 2,373 points in his career which spanned from 1977-1980.