For the first time in Liberty men's basketball program history, the Flames found themselves in a triple overtime game against UNCG. For 50 minutes, the Flames and the Spartans went back-and-forth in a slugfest and in the final seconds, UNCG pulled off the win defeating Liberty 76-75.
Scottie James became Liberty's first player since 2014 to record three straight double-doubles, scoring 19 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Leading all scorers was UNCG's Francis Alonso tallying 36 points with 31 coming after the first half including the game winner.
Also scoring in double-digits for the Flames was Lovell Cabbil with 16 points and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz with 13 points. Two of the nation's best defenses were on display at the Vines Center as the team's combined to shoot 31.3 percent (43-for-137) from the field. Liberty shot 32.8 percent (19-for-58) while UNCG was 30.4 percent (24-for-79) from the field.
The Flames looked like they were going to come away the win, holding the lead in regulation and in two of the overtimes with less than 10 seconds on the clock but a few big plays from UNCG's Francis Alonso proved to be the difference in Saturday's game at the Vines. Liberty falls to 5-3 on the year while UNCG improves to 5-3.
In the final 10 seconds of regulation, Liberty held a 52-49 lead but with five seconds left in the game, Alonso banked in a three-point shot to send it into overtime. In the first overtime, UNCG looked like it was going to come away with the win, holding the lead for the entire period until James nailed a pair of free throws with two seconds left in the first overtime.
With just under 1:30 left in the second overtime, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz drilled a three-pointer to give Liberty the lead and it looked like the Flames would come away with the victory until Alonso stepped up once again. With a 70-67 lead with 13 seconds left, Alonso would give UNCG one last shot at the win as he banked in another three-pointer with six seconds left to send the game into triple overtime.
After 50 minutes of action, Liberty's key contributors foul trouble caught up as Cabbil and James would both pick up their fifth fouls, having to watch the end of the game from the bench. With two clutch buckets at the free-throw line from Ryan Kemrite, UNCG had the ball with nine seconds left in the game. After keeping the game alive multiple times, Alonso would end the game, making a jumper inside the paint with two seconds left, giving UNCG the win.
Liberty will have a quick turnaround for its next game as they hit the road to face Georgia State on Monday, Dec. 4. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at GSU Sports Arena.
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