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Wildcats Hold Home Court With Win Over LU

November 24, 2009  Evanston, Ill.  RSS
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Johnny Stephene recorded eight points and six boards in the second half of Liberty's contest against Northwestern Tuesday night.

Johnny Stephene recorded eight points and six boards in the second half of Liberty's contest against Northwestern Tuesday night.

Coming off a 91-72 defeat at Notre Dame, the Flames (1-5) looked to rebound in their second game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge inside the Welsh-Ryan Arena against host Northwestern. Unfortunately, the Wildcats would hand Liberty its fourth-straight loss in seven days, taking the contest 69-53, Tuesday night.

Liberty jumped out to an early 4-2 lead with baskets by Patrick Konan and Carter McMasters. The Wildcats proceeded to go on an 11-0 run, until Konan ended the scoring streak with a layup to make it 13-6 at 14:49. Northwestern then went on another run, putting up six-unanswered points. An Evan Gordon layup halted the Wildcats momentarily, giving the host team a 19-8 advantage at 11:41.

Both teams began swapping baskets over the next minute and a half, which was capped off by a Kyle Ohman three-pointer to trim the deficit to 10, 23-13, with 10:07 remaining. The Flames added a tally at the charity stripe, but the Wildcats responded with their second 11-0 run of the opening 20 minutes to take a 34-14 lead.

Liberty scored six of the last nine points of the opening half, trimming the home squad's lead to 17 points at the break, 37-20.

Liberty was held to 31.0 percent from the floor in the first period, as the Flames connected on 9-of-29 attempts from the floor. Ohman led the Flames with seven points and five rebounds followed by Konan, who chipped in six points and three rebounds.

Northwestern's Drew Crawford led all scorers with eight markers. Three-point field goals proved to be the difference, with the Wildcats outshooting the Flames behind the arc, six to one.

The Flames struck back early in the second half, racking up seven-straight points to cut the Wildcat lead to 37-27 at 17:31. Northwestern countered the spurt, outscoring the Flames 12-6 over a near five-minute span to go up 52-33 with 12:38 left on the clock.

Jeremy Anderson sliced the deficit to 16 with trey, 52-36, helping spark a 7-2 jolt by the Flames. The Wildcats then began to gradually extend their advantage to 19, leading 63-44 with 6:46 remaining.

Liberty then went on a 9-2 burst to get within 12 points of Northwestern at 2:56, 65-53. The Northwestern closed out the contest with two more baskets to take the contest 69-53, handing the Flames their fifth loss in six games in 2009.

Crawford was the game's leading scorer with 22 points, aided by 5-of-10 shooting from three-point land.

Ohman ended the contest as the Liberty's leading scorer and rebounder with 15 tallies and nine boards, tying for game-high honors in rebounds. Johnny Stephene gave the Flames an extra scoring presence in the second half, recording eight points from the charity stripe, while adding six boards.

The Flames' shooting improved in the latter period, hitting 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from the floor and 14-of-20 (70.0 percent) from the foul line. Liberty did manage to win the battle for the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats, 35-30.

The Flames will now have two full days of rest before suiting up Friday to play their third game in the Chicago Invitational Challenge against Mississippi Valley State at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill. The Delta Devils are 1-4 on the season after falling to St. Louis, Tuesday night, 75-39. Tip-off for Friday's contest is slated for 3:30 p.m.