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Bulldogs Complete Sweep of Flames, 75-72

February 11, 2010  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Kyle Ohman finished with 15 points and five boards in his return to the court Thursday night since missing the previous five contests.

Kyle Ohman finished with 15 points and five boards in his return to the court Thursday night since missing the previous five contests.

Looking to strengthen its grip on the fourth spot in the Big South standings, the Flames squared off with UNC Asheville on the road Thursday. Down by as much as 16 in the second half, the Flames climbed back with multiple scoring runs to make it a one-possession game in the closing minutes. However, the Bulldogs managed to fend off the feisty Flames, completing the season sweep with a 75-72 decision.

After being absent since the Flames' first meeting with Bulldogs on Jan. 16, Liberty's leading scorer Kyle Ohman returned to action, netting 15 points in 27 minutes.

Despite shooting only 29.2 percent from behind the arc prior to the contest, the Bulldogs were hot from downtown, finishing with 39.1 percent in the matchup (9-of-23).

The Bulldogs lit up the scoreboard first thanks to a John Williams dunk, but the Flames answered quickly, as Evan Gordon nailed a trey to give Liberty the early 3-2 lead at 18:55.

UNC Asheville held the Flames scoreless over the next 2:24, proceeding to go on a 7-0 run with baskets from Chris Stephenson and J.P. Primm. Gordon broke the Bulldogs' scoring spurt at 16:31, sinking a jumper to cut the deficit to four, 9-5.

Primm gave the home team a seven-point lead at 16:19, sinking a three to put the Bulldogs up 12-5. Jeremy Anderson quickly answered with a three-pointer of his own to bring it back to a two possession game, 12-8, at 15:20.

The Bulldogs took advantage of another Liberty scoring drought over the next four-plus minutes, going on a 6-0 burst to increase their lead to 18-8. Sanders broke the ice at 10:49, netting a three-pointer to cut the advantage back to single digits, 18-11.

The offensive pace slowed during the ensuing 5:51, but UNC Asheville managed to maintain the upper hand, outscoring the Flames 12-6 to stretch the advantage to 13 with 4:48 remaining in the half.

Liberty picked up the pace in the final minutes of the half, outpointing the Bulldogs by a narrow margin of 10-7, highlighted by seven tallies from Ohman. The senior's scoring burst allowed the Flames to cut the deficit to 12 at half's end, 37-25.

Stephenson led the way for the Bulldogs at the break with 11 points, hitting three-of-five from behind the three-point line. Ohman's seven points made him the Flames' leading scorer during the opening period.

Sanders made it a 10-point contest, 37-27, in the opening nine seconds of the second half with a layup.

The Bulldogs tied their largest lead of the game at 18:37 thanks to three-pointer from Primm to make it 43-29. Liberty chipped away at the bulge over the next 3:45, scoring 10 of the game's next 13 points to cut the margin to single digits, 46-37.

Following a Jaron Lane basket upped the Bulldogs' advantage back to double figures, 48-37, the Flames countered with five unanswered points from Gordon and Anderson, making it 48-42 with 13:55 remaining.

UNC Asheville regained a double-digit lead with 10:20 left in the game, courtesy of a traditional three-point play from Stephenson. The Flames responded with another 5-0 spurt with baskets from Anderson and Burrus to trim it to 55-49 at 9:24.

The scoring roller coaster continued over the next three minutes, as UNC Asheville made it an 11-point game with 6:26 remaining off a layup by Sean Smith. The Bulldogs went cold during the next two and half minutes, with Liberty taking advantage of the drought by going on a 9-0 tear. Gordon capped off the run with a trey, helping the Flames cut it to a pair, 66-64, with 4:07 left on the clock.

Liberty stayed within two possessions down the stretch, but failed to climb over the hump. Jeremy Anderson had a look from behind the arc in the final seconds, but could not connect, as the Bulldogs held off the Flames for the second time this season to complete the season sweep, 75-72.

The Bulldogs improve to 11-14 on the season and 8-6 in conference play with the win, while the Flames fall to 13-12 overall and 7-6 in the Big South.

UNC Asheville shot 14-of-50 from the field in the half (28.0 percent), while holding the Flames to 8-of-31 shooting (25.8 percent). Coming into the game averaging 5.3 treys per contest, UNC Asheville netted seven by half's end.

Stephenson finished with 16 points for the Bulldogs, followed by Primm (15), Smith (14) and Williams (10). Williams conclude the game with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to his scoring effort.

Gordon tied Stephenson for the game-high in scoring with 16 tallies, followed by Ohman (15) and Sanders (15). Burrus recorded his third career double-double, posting 11 points and 10 boards.

The Flames more than doubled their field goal shooting in the second half, shooting 53.1 percent in the latter period (17-of-32) to finish with a percentage of 39.7 percent (25-of-63).
The Bulldogs concluded the contest shooting 46.4 percent from the field, hitting 26-of-56 shots.

The Flames remain on the road this weekend, squaring off with Gardner-Webb on Saturday. Liberty took the first meeting against the Runnin' Bulldogs, successfully defending home court on Jan.14, 68-57. Tipoff for Saturday's rematch is slated for 7 p.m.

UNC Asheville stays inside the Justice Center on Saturday, tipping off with the VMI Keydets at 4:30 p.m.