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Liberty Wins Thriller over Tribe in Double OT

November 29, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Flames celebrate Saturday's double-overtime victory over William & Mary to win the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic.

The Flames celebrate Saturday's double-overtime victory over William & Mary to win the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic.

Game Highlights (Video)

Seth Curry tallied 13 of his 21 points during two overtime periods, helping the Liberty Flames (4-1) to a thrilling double-overtime victory over the William & Mary Tribe (3-4) on Saturday night, 80-74, inside the Vines Center.

With the victory, the Flames were the champions of the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic.

The Flames jumped out to a 6-2 lead, courtesy of a Curry trey and back-to-back free throws makes by Jesse Sanders at 16:26.

William & Mary answered, tying the game at 10 apiece, via an 8-4 run. David Schneider capped the run with a three-point bucket at 12:44.

Not to be outdone, Kyle Ohman quickly lifted the Flames back on top, 13-10, on the very next possession with a trey of his own at 11:25. But, five straight points by the Tribe gave William & Mary its first lead of the game, 15-13, when Chris Darnell connected on a three at 10:40, following a Marcus Kitts rebound putback.

A 7-2 Liberty jaunt gave the lead back to the Flames, 20-17, courtesy of five straight Anthony Smith points and a Curry jumper at 7:43. The contest remained back-and-forth over the next four minutes, but a Quinn McDowell bucket at 2:55 gave the Tribe the lead, 24-23.

Another bucket by McDowell pushed William & Mary up by three, 28-25, the largest of the opening half for the Tribe. Carter McMasters fouled McDowell on the play, but the ensuing free throw attempt was missed and Smith came down with the board.

Liberty closed out the half with three straight points, tying the game at 28 apiece. After a Smith free throw, Brolin stole the ball on an errant Matt McFadden pass, followed by a dunk in transition with 24.2 seconds left in the half.

The Flames struggled from the floor in the opening stanza, connecting on 34.5 percent of its shots (10-of-29), including 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from three-point range.

William & Mary succeeded a little better, connecting on 40 percent (12-of-30) from the floor, including 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from three-point land.

A three-point bucket by Danny Sumner at 19:44 gave the Tribe a quick three-point lead coming out of the intermission, 31-28. But Liberty responded with an 8-0 run, taking a seven-point lead, 38-31. Smith connected on two free throws at 15:20, capping the streak.

The Tribe cut the Liberty advantage to one point, 41-40, via 9-3 jaunt, capped by a Sumner trey at 10:46. The Flames pushed the lead back to eight points, 48-40, via a quick 8-0 run, finished off by Smith making one-of-two free throw attempts at 7:48.

The Flames pushed the lead to nine points, 54-45, after Smith connected on two free throws at 4:29. But things got interesting two minutes later when Smith collected three fouls, including his disqualifying fifth at 2:42. The score at the time was Liberty ahead by eight points, 57-49.

With Smith out of the contest, William & Mary strung together an 8-2 run, pulling within two points, 59-57, when Schneider hit a trey with 1:31 remaining. The Flames pushed the lead to three points, 60-57, when Johnny Stephene connected on the second of a two-shot foul with 35 seconds left.

Schneider, who left the contest at the end of the first half to have his forehead stitched up after running into a railing far out of bounds for a loose ball, connected on the trey with 24 seconds left to tie the game at 60 apiece.

A Jesse Sanders three-point attempt as time expired failed to connect, sending Liberty to overtime for the first time in 75 games.

William & Mary wasted no time getting on the board, scoring on two McDowell free throws at the 4:53 mark in the first overtime. After a Curry bucket at 4:38 tied the game for the sixth time, Schneider hit another three-point bucket at 4:26, giving the Tribe the 65-62 advantage.

Liberty then regained the lead, 66-65, via two Ohman free throws and another Curry bucket at 2:49. Sanders extended the lead to three points, 68-65, at the 2:02 mark after he was successful on his two attempts from the charity stripe.

The Tribe answered back quickly, tallying six straight makers, courtesy of a McDowell three-pointer and a Sumner bucket with 56 seconds left. Kendrix Brown made one-of-two attempts from the free throw line, staking the Tribe to a three-point lead, 71-68, with 28 seconds left.

The never-say-die attitude of the Flames witnessed Curry connected on a 27-footer with 18 seconds left, tying the game at 71 all. A Sumner contested three-point attempt fell incomplete, sending Liberty to its first double-overtime contest since Feb. 16, 2002.

Schneider once again put the Tribe on his back, hitting a three-point bucket at 4:39 in the second overtime, giving William & Mary the 74-71 lead. However, that would be all the Tribe would score during the final five minutes, as Liberty tallied nine straight points to seal the victory.

Curry scored six of the nine points, capping the game with a transition dunk with three seconds left.

Liberty won despite shooting only 16.7 (5-of-30) from beyond the arc. Overall, the Flames were successful on 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the floor.

Curry, tournament MVP, finished with 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting. The freshman played 50 minutes in the contest, tying a program record for minutes played. Mike Minett was the last Flame to play 50 minutes in a game, when he did on Feb. 10, 1986, four years prior to Curry's birth.

Smith scored a team-high 22 points and pulled down 10 caroms for his sixth career double-double. Ohman chipped in 13 points, while Sanders grabbed eight rebounds and chipped in 11 points.

Sanders and Smith joined Curry on the all-tournament team.

William & Mary shot 38.6 percent (27-of-70) from the floor, including 28.3 percent (13-of-46) from beyond the arc. The Tribe only went to the charity stripe nine times, versus Liberty's 32 attempts. Liberty succeeded on 23 of those attempts for a 71.9 percent success rate.

Schneider tallied a game-high 23 points on 7-of-23 shooting, all from beyond the arc. Sumner also added 23 points on 10-of-22 shooting. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.

Liberty returns to action on Monday, when George Mason invades the Vines Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on MASN.