Blair passed Aluma on Liberty and Big South scoring lists.
Larry Blair moved up two spots to fifth place on the Big South's all-time scoring list and one spot on Liberty's all-time scoring list as he collected a game-high 18 points in helping Liberty (6-1) defeat Longwood (3-8) on Saturday night at the Vines Center, 89-61. The win is the Flames' six straight, equaling the nation's 12th-best current winning streak, and serves as the best Liberty start since the 1999-2000 season when the Flames started 7-1. The Flames started the game quickly, jumping out with a 15-5 run capped by an Anthony Smith three-point basket from the corner on Alex McLean's assist with 14:58 left in the first half. The Flames followed with a 12-6 run capped by a one-handed dunk by Russell Monroe off a feed from B.J. Jenkins, making it 27-13 with 8:32 left in the first half. Monroe was fouled on the play but missed the ensuing free throw. The Lancers attempted to get back into the game as Longwood scored 11 of the games next 13 points, trimming Liberty's lead to nine, 35-26, after a pair of free throws by Brandon Giles at the 1:51 mark. However, a bit of Liberty history halted the run on the next possession as Blair pulled up for a jumper from the left elbow, sinking a basket to give him 1,716 career points, helping him pass Peter Aluma for fifth all-time in both the Big South and Liberty all-time scoring lists. With the basket, Blair became Liberty's all-time Division I scoring leader. Blair then hit two free throws with seven seconds left in the half, allowing Liberty to take a 39-26 lead into the half. The story of the first half was 26 personal fouls called between the two teams, leaving both sides in foul trouble at the break. The second half started out as a defensive juggernaut as neither team could get any shots to fall. Behind Jenkins, the Flames extended the lead to 19, making it 50-31 after the freshman scored back-to-back baskets capped by a three-point shot from the top of the key with 13:50 left in the game. The Lancers went on a 9-4 run capped an alley oop by Kirk Williams on a Kevin Swecker pass making it 54-40 with 11:40 left in the game. The Flames came back with a 10-2 run of their own, giving Liberty its largest lead of the game at 64-42 when Tyler Baker hit a three-point basket off a Justin Holland pass with 9:20 left in the game. Both teams traded baskets for the next five minutes with the Flames holding a 9-8 advantage after Rell Porter hit a three-point basket off a Blair pass with 4:20 left in the game making it 73-50. The Flames took their largest lead of the game at 33 points after a 16-6 run capped by a Smith jumper on a Holland pass making it 89-56 with 1:49 left in the game. The Lancers closed out the game on a 5-0 run but it was too little as the Flames grabbed the 89-61 win. The Flames shot a 59.4 percent on 19-of-32 shooting from the field in the second half while hitting 6-of-10 from three point range. The Flames' defense held the Lancers to 35.1 percent shooting from the field for the game and outrebounded Longwood, 42-32, on the night. Blair led the way with 18 points, giving him 1,726 in his career, and grabbed seven rebounds. McLean scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Smith scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Porter, Jenkins and Baker rounded out the top scorers with 10 points apiece. Longwood had three players in double figures with Brandon Giles leading the squad with 13 points, followed by Kirk Williams who scored 12 points off the bench on 6-of-10 shooting. Husein Pistoljevic rounded out Longwood's top performers putting 11 points up in the losing cause. Maurice Sumter, the Lancers' leading scorer at 18.1 points per game coming into the contest, finished with seven points on 2-of-13 shooting. The Flames return to action on December 16 when Liberty travels to St. Francis to conclude the season series. The tip is set for 7 p.m. at DeGol Arena in Loretto, Pa. The game also marks the debut of junior Dwight Brewington who has missed the Flames' first seven games due to the NCAA transfer rules. Brewington transferred a year ago to Liberty from Providence.