The Liberty men's basketball team closed out is non-conference slate with a win, Sunday, defeating Cincinnati Christian inside the Vines Center, 78-58.
Redshirt freshman guard Ryan Kemrite led the Flames with a career-high 13 points, hitting 3-of-4 shots from three-point range. Freshman guard Peter Moller garnered 12 points, while redshirt junior guard Ethan Layer also knocked down 3-of-4 three-point attempts to tie his career high with 11 tallies. David Andoh led Liberty with 10 rebounds, while Joe Retic dished out seven assists.
Mitch McLeish paced the Eagles with 25 points, followed by Mac Constable, who had 14.
Liberty shot its second best field goal percentage of the season, going 29-of-53 (54.7 percent) from the field. The Flames also knocked down a season-high nine three-pointers, shooting 60.0 percent from long distance. Liberty held CCU to 30.3 percent shooting (20-of-66) from the field and outscored the Eagles in the paint, 36-18. The Flames' 44 rebounds also ties its second highest mark of the season.
With the win, Liberty moves to 6-7 on the year, while the Eagles are 12-5. The Flames are now 4-0 all-time against CCU.
The Eagles hung with the Flames for a good portion of the opening period. With the contest knotted at 10, Liberty went on a 7-0 run capped by an alley-oop dunk from Retic to Smith. CCU responded with a 7-0 burst of its own to tie the contest again, 17-17, at 9:36.
Liberty began to create a cushion in the remaining minutes, courtesy of baskets by Kemrite, Moller, Andoh, Retic and Smith. Another dunk by Smith gave Liberty its largest lead (13) in the opening period with 1:20 left. The Flames went into the locker room at halftime owning a 34-23 lead.
The Flames shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the field, hitting 4-of-8 shots from three-point land. The Eagles concluded the first period shooting 24.1 percent (7-of-29), going 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from downtown.
Kemrite paced the Flames' offense with 10 points, followed by Moller with eight. McLeish led the Eagles with 10 tallies.
In the second half, the Eagles pulled within seven points with 11:21 remaining. A 10-0 run kick started by a Retic three-pointer allowed the Flames to break away for good. After layups from Theo Johnson and Smith, Layer cemented the burst with a trey at 8:45, making it 54-37.
Layer gave the Flames their largest lead (20) at 4:09 with his third three-ball of the game. The Eagles got within 13 tallies down the stretch, but it was not enough. The Flames went back up by 20 with 21 ticks left thanks to an Evan Maxwell dunk, securing the 78-58 final.
Liberty returns to action on New Year's Eve to kick off the Big South Conference schedule at Campbell. Tipoff with the Fighting Camels in Buies Creek, N.C., is slated for 2 p.m.