Flames Antwan Burrus
Playing in their second contest of the South Padre Island Invitational, the Liberty Flames paid a visit to the Sun Dome to take on the South Florida Bulls. Unfortunately for the visiting Flames, they were unable to gain any shooting momentum from the field, as the Bulls took the contest, 60-43. With the defeat, Liberty falls to 2-4 on the season, while USF improves to 3-2. After nearly two minutes of scoreless action, USF's Mike Burwell put the first points on the board for the Bulls, sinking a three-pointer at 18:08. Evan Gordon countered immediately on the other end, hitting a trey of his own to knot it at three during the Liberty's ensuing possession. Following another Bulls basket, David Minaya tied the contest again with a layup. However, USF proceeded to go on a 10-0 run to pull ahead on the scoreboard. Joel Vander Pol halted the Bulls scoring streak at 13:06, hitting a free throw to make it 15-6, USF. Jesse Sanders converted a layup to cut the Flames' deficit to seven points, but the Bulls responded with four unanswered tallies to jump out to an 11-point lead, 19-8, at 9:29. After a Gordon layup in the paint made it 19-10, the Flames experienced a scoring drought over the next 4:51. During the span, the Bulls reeled off another 10-0 spurt thanks to sharp shooting from behind the three-point arc. Sanders hit a jumper with 4:13 left in the half to end the drought. However, the scoring burst by USF gave the home team a 29-12 advantage. Liberty chipped away at the bulge over the remaining minutes of the half, scoring 10 unanswered points with baskets from Sanders and Brown and six-straight to cut the margin to single digits, 29-20, at 1:36. USF responded with six-consecutive points to close out the half, going to intermission with a 35-20. Burwell concluded the first half as the game's leading scorer with nine points on 3-for-3 shooting from the three-point line, while Gordon led the way for the Flames with seven tallies. The Bulls shot 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from the field, while holding Liberty to 26.1 percent (6-of-23). USF came looked to continue its solid shooting in the second half, as Ron Anderson knocked down a three-pointer to extend tits lead, 38-20, at 19:06. Meanwhile, the Flames continued to struggle from the field in the second half. Liberty managed to post just four field goals and a made free throw over the opening 10 minutes of the second half. USF capitalized by upping its advantage to 19 points, 48-29, with 10:09 left in the contest. With USF holding a 22-point bulge with under four minutes remaining, Gordon nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead back to 19, 55-36. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick answered for the Bulls at the other end, sinking a three-pointer of his own. Thirty-nine ticks later, Shaun Noriega tacked on a layup to give the home team a 24-point lead. Gordon fired back one again, knocking down another three-pointer to make it 60-39 with 2:36 remaining. The Flames scored four more points in the remainder of the contest, giving USF the 60-43 decision. Burwell and Gordon led their respective teams with 15 points apiece. Liberty shot 29.2 percent (14-of-48) for the contest, while the Bulls went 21-of-48 (43.8 percent). Liberty now heads back to the Lone Star State to close out the South Padre Island Invitational. The Flames will take on Mississippi Valley State on Friday. Last season, the Flames met the Delta Devils in the Chicago Invitational on Nov. 27, 2009, defeating Mississippi Valley State, 72-53. Tipoff for the rematch is set for 2:30 p.m. (EST).