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Flames Cruise to Tenth Win of the Season

December 28, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Brolin Floyd scored 14 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds in Liberty's victory on Sunday.

Brolin Floyd scored 14 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds in Liberty's victory on Sunday.

For the first time in program history, the Liberty Flames (10-4) will celebrate the New Year with 10 wins notched on its belt, as they topped the Cincinnati Christian Golden Eagles (7-6), Sunday afternoon, 86-55, inside the Vines Center.

Liberty is also the first team in the Big South Conference to win 10 games this season.

The Flames stormed out to an 11-3 lead, which was capped by a Seth Curry heavily contested jumper from the corner at 15:32. Liberty scored the first five points of the game before Cincinnati Christian tallied a trey by Michael Smith at 17:20.

Liberty extended its lead quickly to 15 points, 23-8, via a 12-5 spurt. Jesse Sanders grabbed a loose ball and laid it in at the 10:07 mark, capping the streak.

A Curry trey at 6:10 pushed the score to 34-16 in favor the Flames. The Golden Eagles surged on a quick 6-2 run, via three-point buckets by David Pritchard and Jake Santel, cutting the Liberty advantage to 14 points, 36-22, at the 3:33 mark.

An Anthony Smith bucket in the paint at 3:18 halted the Cincinnati Christian run and started a new one for Liberty. Including Smith's bucket, Liberty finished the first stanza on a 10-0 run, taking the 46-22 advantage into the intermission.

For the fourth consecutive half Liberty connected on over 50 percent of its shots, hitting at a 57.6 percent (19-of-33) clip, including 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from beyond the arc.

Cincinnati Christian connected on 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from the floor, including 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from beyond the three-point arc.

The Golden Eagles hung with Liberty to start the second stanza, trailing by a point on the Flames' 9-8 advantage to start the game's final period.

Vondaze Thornton had the chance to keep Cincinnati Christian even in second half points with Liberty coming out of the break, but he missed the second of a two shot foul at 16:15. His first attempt sank through, cutting the Liberty advantage to 25 points, 55-30.

A Curry bucket and four straight Tyler Baker free throws quickly pushed the Liberty lead up to 31 points, 61-30, with 13:52 remaining.

The Flames cruised for the remainder of the contest, holding the 31-point lead for the closing 13:52 to grab the 86-55 victory.

Liberty shot 50.7 percent (34-of-67) from the floor, including 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from beyond the arc. The contest marks the second in a row Liberty has connected on at least 50 percent of its shot attempts. The Flames won the rebound war, 47-30, marking the third time this season Liberty has outrebounded an opponent.

Curry led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Floyd pulled down a career-high and game-best nine rebounds, while pouring in 14 points.

Baker, Smith and Jesse Sanders all chipped in 10 points in the winning cause. Smith's 10 points pushed him past Chris Caldwell (1,391) for 12th all-time in Liberty's annals for points. Smith now has 1,393 career points.

The Golden Eagles connected on 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the floor, including 37.0 percent (10-of-27) from three-point range.

Santel scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Nathanael Harney chipped in 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting for the losing cause.

Liberty is back in action on Saturday when they resume Big South Conference action. The Flames will travel to Winthrop for a 7 p.m. contest, inside the Winthrop Coliseum.