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Flames Victorious In Wild Shootout With VMI, 122-117
The Flames started out the game on a 9-2 run, which was capped by a lay-up from Anthony Smith with 18:03 remaining in the first half. The bucket made Smith the 45th player in Liberty history to score 500 career points.
The score was relatively close for the next six minutes of play. VMI cut the Flames' advantage to 15-14 on a Travis Holmes three-pointer. The Flames then tallied eight of the game's next 11 points, a run which came to a close on a bucket by Dwight Brewington with 12:06 left in the opening period. His conversion gave Liberty a 23-17 lead.
The Flames then held a 15-9 advantage over the next four minutes, capped by Brewington's old-fashioned three point play with 8:06 left in the half, which lifted Liberty to a 38-26 lead.
The Flames closed out the half on a 27-16 run which was concluded with Brewington's steal and basket with four seconds left, sending Liberty into the break with a 65-42 lead.
The Flames' 65 first-half points broke a Vines Center record for points in a half. The previous record was 57, when Liberty beat Averett on Dec. 12, 1992.
The Keydets started the second half on a 16-9 run, cutting the Flames' lead to 74-58. The run was wrapped up on a bucket by Matt Murrer with 16:11 left in the game.
For the next 12 minutes the game was neck-and-neck, as the Flames held a slim 34-32 advantage. An Alex McLean lay-up with 4:16 remaining provided Liberty with a 108-90 lead.
VMI made it interesting from that point on, as they went on a 27-11 run. The furious comeback attempt was capped by a Dusty Pflugner lay-up with 28 seconds left which cut the Flames' lead to 119-117.
However, for the second game in a row, the decision ended up in Blair's hands. For the second-straight time, he delivered in the clutch, making three-of-four from the free throw line to seal the victory.
Blair and Brewington led the way for the homestanding Flames with 30 points apiece. Blair finished two points shy of 2,000 career tallies. The senior guard also collected his second double-double of the season, as he brought down 10 rebounds.
Brewington's point total was a career high. McLean added his ninth double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Smith added 17 points and a career-high six assists. Rounding out the top Flame scorers was B.J. Jenkins, who had 11 points on four-of-seven shooting.
Reggie Williams broke a Vines Center record for opponents' scoring with 40 points on 14-of-21 shooting. Williams 14 field goals also marked an opponents' Vines Center record. Chavis Holmes scored 17 points while Murrer added 16 of his own before fouling out. Rounding out the top Keydets were Travis Holmes and Fred Robinson who added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The Flames, for the first time all season, finished a game shooting over 60 percent as they shot 45-of-72 from the field while dishing out a Vines Center-record 33 assists. The 45 team field goals was also a Vines Center record.
Liberty is back at the Vines Center on Tuesday when the Flames meet UNC Asheville to conclude the season series. Start time is 7 p.m.