The Liberty men's basketball team led for much of the first half against Radford, but two big surges by the Highlanders allowed them to pull away inside the Dedmon Center, Saturday afternoon. Liberty chipped away at the deficit in the closing minutes, but Radford hung on for the 84-76 win.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 6-15 on the year and 0-8 in Big South action. Radford moves to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in conference play, earning its fifth straight win. The Highlanders are now 35-30 all-time against the Flames, taking the last three contests.
Theo Johnson paced the Flames with a career-high 19 points. David Andoh chipped in 14 points, followed by Andrew Smith with 13.
Javonte Green led Radford with a game-high 24 points. YaYa Anderson and R.J. Price combined for nine of the Highlanders' 13 three-pointers, finishing with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Liberty outscored Radford in the paint, 34-20, but the Highlanders capitalized on points off turnovers, 33-9.
The Flames shot over 50 percent for the third time this season, shooting 51.1 percent (24-of-47). Radford concluded the night with 43.5 percent shooting (27-of-62).
Liberty took control early, jumping out to a 13-6 lead after an Ethan Layer three-pointer. Radford later cut the deficit to four, but another trey from A.C. Reid boosted Liberty's lead back to seven, 20-13, at 11:05.
With Liberty up by four at the 8:15 mark, the Highlanders posted five unanswered points over a 45-second span to garner their first lead of the game. A pair of Green free throws gave Radford a 27-26 advantage.
Liberty regained the lead with a Reid jumper at 5:09, but the Highlanders proceeded to outscore the Flames, 14-4, to close out the half and take a 44-36 lead into the locker room.
The Flames shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) in the first half, compared to 46.9 percent (15-of-32) for the Highlanders. Radford capitalized off Liberty's 10 first-half turnovers, converting the miscues into 15 points.
Radford picked up where it left off in the second half, going on an 18-2 run to begin the period. Anderson accounted for 14 of the Highlanders' points during the surge, sinking four three-pointers, including three in succession. Peter Moller broke up the Flames' drought with a trey of his own at 16:12, making it 62-41, in favor of the home team.
Anderson stayed hot from long distance, hitting another downtown bucket to give Radford its largest lead of the game (25) at the 13:49 mark. Liberty climbed back in the closing minutes, dwindling the deficit to eight, but was unable to get any closer en route to the 84-76 final.
Liberty returns to the Vines Center on Thursday, playing host to High Point. The contest tips off at 7 p.m., broadcasting live on the Liberty Flames Sports Network, MASN HD, ESPN3 and the Big South Network.