Chene Phillips and the Flames return to Lynchburg on Tuesday to host the High Point Panthers in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship. Game time is set for 7 p.m. THe contest will air live on the Flames Sports Network.
Playing in its final regular-season game of the 2010-11 campaign, the Liberty men's basketball team stepped into the Templeton Center Saturday night to take on the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Unfortunately for the Flames, they suffered their fourth consecutive loss, falling to PC, 73-66.
With the defeat, Liberty concludes the regular season with a 19-12 overall record and a 13-5 posting in Big South action. The Blue Hose finish out their season with a 13-18 record and a 7-11 mark in conference play.
Presbyterian College jumped out to an early lead thanks to five straight points by Josh Johnson. The Flames cut it to one off baskets by David Minaya and Evan Gordon. On the other end, Khalid Mutakabbir connected on a jumper to give the Blue Hose a 7-4 advantage at 16:39.
The two squads traded baskets over the next 5:03. With the Flames down by one, Pierre Miller gave the Blue Hose a four-point cushion at 11:36 with a three-pointer. Jeremy Anderson countered the shot 1:28 later, sinking a trey of his own to put the Flames back within one. John Brown followed up the bucket with a layup to put Liberty on top at 9:07, 15-14.
Liberty continued to pile on the points courtesy of a Sommy Ogukwe layup, another Anderson three-pointer and a Minaya free throw. The charity stripe tally capped off an 11-0 run for the Flames. Johnson halted Liberty's hot streak, nailing a three-pointer at 8:08 to put PC within four, 21-17.
Following two made free throws by Brown, the Blue Hose reeled off eight straight points to take the lead. Mutakabbir and Walt Allen highlight the scoring streak with back-to-back three-pointers. Antwan Burrus broke up the burst with a free throw. Brown then put the Flames back on top with a thunderous dunk.
Trailing by one, the Blue Hose closed out the first half with a three-pointer by Ryan Hargrave to take a 28-26 lead at halftime.
Brown led all scorers at the end of the period with 10 points, while Mutakabbir trailed closely with nine tallies.
The Flames finished the opening 20 minutes shooting 47.4 percent (9-of-19), while the Blue Hose shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26), including a 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) effort from three-point range. Liberty found room underneath the hoop during the period, outscoring PC in the paint, 12-4.
In the second half, the Blue Hose added five straight points to extend their lead to seven. Burrus cut the margin to five with a layup in the paint, but Allen responded with a three-pointer to give the Blue Hose an eight-point edge. After a Sanders jumper, PC tacked on four more points to take a 10-point lead, 40-30, with 15:44 remaining in the contest.
The Blue Hose continued to distance themselves from the Flames. A three-pointer by Allen at 12:10 gave the home team a 48-32 advantage. Liberty responded by scoring eight unanswered points off baskets by Anderson and Minaya to cut the deficit in half. A three-pointer by Mutakabbir ended the streak, giving PC a 51-40 lead with 8:56 remaining on the clock.
Liberty chipped away at the margin with four straight points. Allen put PC back up by 10 with a three-pointer. Minaya then helped the Flames divide the double-digit margin in half with five straight points. Following two Pierre Miller free throws, Brown connected on a layup in the paint to close the gap back to five. Jake Troyli responded on the other end with a jumper to make it 58-51 with 4:54 remaining.
With PC holding a 12-point lead at 2:51, the Flames clawed back, cutting the margin to five with 1:13 left on the clock. However, the surge was not enough, as the Blue Hose held on for the 73-66 final.
Minaya netted 15 second-half points to finish the contest with 18. Playing in his final game for PC, Allen also posted 18 points to lead the Blue Hose.
The Flames shot 47.8 percent (22-of-46) from the field in the contest, while PC hit 23-of-48 shots to finish with 47.9 percent. The Blue Hose also knocked down 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) from three-point range.
Heading into the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship as the No.2 seed, the Flames will play host to No. 7 High Point, Tuesday, inside the Vines Center. Tipoff for the contest is slated for 7 p.m. and will air live on the Flames Sports Network. The full list of tournament seeds will be announced by the conference office later tonight.