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LU Falls in Big South Conference Opener

November 18, 2008  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Seth Curry drives toward the hoop during Liberty's loss at UNC Asheville.

Seth Curry drives toward the hoop during Liberty's loss at UNC Asheville.

The Liberty Flames (1-1, 0-1 BSC) dropped their Big South Conference opener for the third straight year at UNC Asheville (3-0, 1-0), as the Bulldogs recorded an 84-56 victory, Tuesday afternoon, inside the Justice Center.

The contest was broadcast on ESPN as part of the network's Tip-Off Marathon, serving as the earliest Big South Conference opener in the history of the league.

The Bulldogs opened up the contest quickly, staking themselves to a 7-0 advantage, courtesy of a Reid Augst bucket at 16:50. The Flames finally got on the board at the 16:10 mark on a Seth Curry jumper from the wing.

Over the next eight minutes, UNC Asheville extended its lead to 24-10, via a 17-8 spurt, including nine straight Bulldog points. Quinard Jackson finished off the run with a bucket at 8:35.

Liberty trailed by as many as 21 points during the first half, 46-25, when John Williams banked a shot in with 41 seconds remaining in the stanza. Curry finished off the half with five straight points, versus the Bulldogs two points, sending the Flames into the break trailing 19 points, 49-30.

Liberty was cold from the floor, hitting on only 29 percent (9-of-31) from the field. The Flames fared better from beyond the arc, hitting on 40 percent (6-of-15) from three-point land.

UNC Asheville succeeded on 51.4 percent from the floor (18-of-35) and 50 percent (5-of-10) from three-point range in the opening stanza.

The Bulldogs didn't slow down entering the second half, extending their lead to 27 points, 64-37, via a 15-7 jaunt, capped by two free throws from J.P. Primm at the 12:17 mark.

The two teams played nearly even basketball over the final 12 minutes of the game, as UNC Asheville outgained Liberty by a point, 20-19, during the remainder of the game to seal the victory.

Liberty struggled from the field on the afternoon, connecting on 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the floor. The Flames shooting percentage from beyond the arc was not much better, as Liberty only hit 21.4 percent (6-of-28) from three-point range, including being shutout from long range in the second half.

UNC Asheville looked sharp in the opening Big South game of the year, hitting 49.2 percent (29-of-59) from the floor and 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from beyond the arc.

Curry led Liberty with 18 points and pulled down six rebounds. Anthony Smith chipped in 13 points and four rebounds in the losing cause.

The Bulldogs were led by freshman J.P. Primm, who tallied a game-high 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while dishing out eight assists.

Liberty returns to action on November 25, when the Flames travel to John Paul Jones Arena to face the Virginia Cavaliers. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.