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Hoyas Hold Off Liberty on Wednesday Evening
|Flames guard Jarred Jourdan|
The Liberty men's basketball team played its first matchup of the Progressive Legends Classic, Wednesday night, taking on BIG EAST power Georgetown. While the Flames displayed a shooting touch from the perimeter, the Hoyas were formidable in the paint, pulling away early in the first half.
Georgetown lead by as much as 23 with 13 minutes left. The Flames climbed back into the contest thanks to its sharpshooting, but the Hoyas managed to survive Liberty's treys en route to a 69-58 decision.
Greg Whittington finished the contest with a game-high 18 points while adding nine rebounds. Mikael Hopkins and Nate Lubick each added 13 tallies for the Hoyas.
Casey Roberts led the Flames' offense with 13 points, followed by Davon Marshall and Tavares Speaks, who finished with 12, apiece. All of Marshall's points came from three-point land, as he connected on 4-of-7 long range attempts. JR Coronado led all rebounders on the night with a season-high 13.
Liberty's 10 three-point field goals were the most since posting an identical total at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 8, 2011.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 0-3 on the season, while Georgetown improves to 2-0 on the year. After their first-ever meeting with the Hoyas, the Flames are now 0-9 all-time against BIG EAST teams.
Liberty lit up the scoreboard first, posting four straight points in the opening 1:48 off back-to-back jumpers by Speaks. The Hoyas countered with a 17-0 run during the ensuing 4:45. Lubick led the burst with seven points on 2-for-2 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the charity stripe.
After Lubick capped the run with a fast break dunk at 13:30, just before Chad Donley halted the surge with a three-pointer. Roberts followed up with a trey of his own with 9:51 left in the half, putting the Flames within seven points of the Hoyas.
Georgetown quickly answered with a dunk by D'Vaun Smith-Rivera, but Roberts fired back with a second three-pointer to cut the deficit to six, 19-13, at 9:24.
With the Hoyas holding an eight-point advantage with just over six minutes remaining in the period, a Marshall trey pulled the Flames within five. The home team did not let Liberty climb any closer, outscoring the Flames during the remainder of the period, 18-7, to take a 41-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Whittington led all scorers after 20 minutes with 12 points, while Lubick had nine for the Hoyas.
Speaks paced the Flames at the half with eight tallies, followed by Marshall and Roberts who each had six. Coronado was the leading rebounder at half's end with five.
Georgetown shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the field in the first half. Liberty concluded the period hitting 10-of-22 (45.5 percent), including 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range. The Flames defense held the Hoyas to 16.7 percent (1-of-6) from long range.
The Hoyas controlled the paint in the opening stanza, holding a 24-0 scoring advantage from inside. However, the Flames were stronger from downtown, outscoring the Hoyas, 15-3, from long range.
Georgetown started the second half with back-to-back buckets to enlarge its margin to 20. A Speaks jumper and another Marshall three-pointer cut the deficit to 15 at 17:41. The Hoyas regained a 20-point advantage at 15:23, courtesy of Mikael Hopkins layup that made it 50-30.
With Georgetown ahead by 23 at 13:05, Liberty began to chip away at the bulge, outscoring the Hoyas 13-3 during a five-minute span.
During the stretch, Liberty received three pointers from John Caleb Sanders, Roberts and Jarred Jourdan. After knocking down his trey, Jourdan followed up with a layup to pull Liberty within 13 at 8:02, 58-45.
The Hoyas reclaimed a 20-point lead with 5:41 left on the clock. Liberty outscored Georgetown, 14-3 in the remaining minutes, ending the night with a traditional three-point play by Coronado. Despite the valiant effort from the Flames, the Hoyas hung on for the 68-59 final.
Georgetown shot 50.0 (24-of-48) from the field in the contest, compared to Liberty's 42.9 percent (21-of-49). The Flames concluded the night 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from behind the three-point arc.
Although the home team held a credible size advantage, Liberty stayed neck-and-neck with Georgetown in rebounds, as the Hoyas edged the Flames, 29-27.
Liberty will head to Huntsville, Texas to continue play in the Progressive Legends Classic. The Flames open the Huntsville regional against UC Irvine on Monday. Game time is slated for 6 p.m., Eastern.