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Second-Half Surge Gives Tribe Win over Liberty
|Junior guard Davon Marshall finished with 12 points against William & Mary, Monday night.|
Making its 2012-13 Vines Center debut, the Liberty men's basketball team played host to William & Mary, Monday night. Despite the Flames holding a 15-point lead at halftime, the Tribe responded in the second half, outscoring Liberty, 32-5 over an 11:52 span to earn a 71-59 decision.
Liberty falls 0-2 on the year, while William & Mary begins its season with a 2-0 start. The Flames are now 4-3 all-time against the Tribe. William & Mary has won two straight games inside the Vines Center.
Brandon Britt led the Tribe with a game-high 21 points, followed by Tim Rusthoven (15) and Terry Tarpey (14). Senior guard Tavares Speaks paced the Flames' offense with 15 tallies. Davon Marshall and Casey Roberts chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Andrew Smith led Liberty with eight rebounds.
William & Mary shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44) from the field, while holding the Flames to 39.7 percent (23-of-58).
The Flames jumped out to an 8-1 advantage in the opening 2:31. Speaks and Jarred Jourdan kicked off the burst with a pair of layups. After a made free throw by Britt, Jourdan posted another basket to extend the Flames' lead to five. A big block by Sommy Ogukwe at the other end set up a fast break jumper by Marshall at 17:29 to cap the run.
The Tribe countered Liberty's quick start with a 10-0 run over the next 3:33. Thornton sealed the surge with a fast break layup at the 13:56 mark. Chad Donley answered with a three-pointer 1:23 later to knot the contest at 11.
A seesaw battle commenced, with the two squads trading the lead. With the Tribe up by two, a Marshall three-pointer gave the Flames a one-point advantage. A pair of free throws reclaimed the lead for William & Mary, but a Speaks jumper put Liberty back on top at the 9:29 mark. Casey Roberts then bolstered the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play, putting the Flames up 20-16 with 7:57 remaining in the period.
The three-pointers continued to fly for the Flames. Marshall's second long-distance jumper of the contest expanded Liberty's cushion to eight at 5:07. Another trey by John Caleb Sanders three minutes later widened the gap to 10, 32-22.
Liberty held the Tribe scoreless from the field during the remaining 2:05 of the half and posted six points via buckets by Speaks, Sanders and Marshall to take a 38-23 lead at halftime.
Liberty finished the first half shooting 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field, including 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from three-point land. William & Mary was held to 31.6 percent shooting, hitting 6-of-19 shots. After posting nine three-pointers against Hampton on Friday, the Tribe went 0-for-7 from downtown in the opening half.
Inside, the Flames outscored William & Mary in the paint, 21-6, and held a 19-9 advantage in rebounds.
Marshall paced Liberty with 10 tallies in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting, followed by Speaks with eight points. Tarpey led the Tribe with six points.
In the second half, the Tribe more than erased its first-half deficit on the strength of the previously mentioned 32-5 run. The burst included a trio of three-pointers from Rusthoven, Tarpey and Britt. The downtown jumper by Britt gave the Tribe the lead at the 12:13 mark, 43-41. After a pair of William & Mary free throws, Andrew Smith halted a six-minute Liberty scoring drought with a thunderous two-handed jam, making it 48-43 in favor of the Tribe at 10:05. The Tribe countered with seven straight points, finishing out the extended run with a 55-43 advantage.
The Flames answered with an 8-0 burst. After back-to-back three pointers by Roberts, Marshall followed up with a fast break layup to pull the home team within four, 55-51, at 5:31.
Liberty got as close as three with 2:40 left, thanks to made free throws by Speaks. The Tribe then responded with six straight points to up the advantage to nine with 1:32 remaining. From there, the Flames were forced to foul, ultimately leading to the 71-59 final.
In a tale of two halves, William & Mary shot 60.0 percent (15-of-25) from the field, while holding Liberty to 22.6 percent (7-of-31) after halftime. The Tribe's sharp shooting in the second half included a 4-of-8 effort from the three-point line. The visitors turned the tide around the basket during the second period, to ultimately win the battle in the paint, 34-29. William & Mary also outrebounded the Flames in the second half, 24-15.
Liberty heads to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take on BIG EAST power Georgetown inside the Verizon Center. The Flames' first-ever meeting with the Hoyas is part of the Progressive Legends Classic. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.