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Flames Bounce Back at Gardner-Webb, 69-61

February 13, 2010  Boiling Springs, N.C.  RSS
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Jeremy Anderson finished with a season-high 17 points in Liberty's 69-61 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

Jeremy Anderson finished with a season-high 17 points in Liberty's 69-61 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

A pair of guards paved the way for the Flames Saturday night, helping Liberty pick up its first-ever win inside the Paul Porter Arena. Evan Gordon and Jeremy Anderson each garnered 17 tallies, to lead the Flames past Gardner-Webb, 69-61.

The victory gives head coach Dale Layer a 4-1 record all-time against Gardner-Webb, dating back to his tenure at Colorado State.

The Flames quickly lit up the scoreboard in the matchup, as Jesse Sanders found Gordon under the basket for a layup to give the Flames an early 2-0 lead. Gardner-Webb answered at the other end 24 ticks later, with a three-pointer from C.J. Hailey.

Liberty proceeded to go on a 10-2 run over the next 4:08, jumping out to a 12-5 lead at 15:14. Sanders was influential during the run, finding Antwan Burrus alone under the basket for a dunk and an open Anderson behind the three-point arc.

The Runnin' Bulldogs chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to one, 14-13, at 11:12 courtesy of a jumper from Auryn MacMillan. Grayson Flittner helped Gardner-Webb claim the lead with 10:11 remaining in the period, hitting an outside shot to make it 16-14.

The home team's advantage was short-lived, as Kyle Ohman scored four-straight points for the Flames, giving Liberty an 18-16 edge with 9:23 left in the period.

Anton Silver put the Runnin' Bulldogs back up by one just seven seconds later, hitting a trey to make it 19-18. Silver found nylon again 2:04, capping off an 8-0 run with another shot from downtown to give Gardner-Webb a six-point cushion, 24-18.

The red-clad Runnin' Bulldogs went scoreless over the ensuing 4:05, while the Flames took advantage of the drought with four-straight tallies from Burrus to trim it to 24-22. MacMillan ended the scoreless span for Gardner-Webb with a layup, making it a two-possession game with 3:07 left in the half.

Liberty knotted the game for the third time with 1:43 on the clock, as Gordon nailed a jumper to tie it at 28. Liberty did not alter the scoreboard anymore in the remainder of the half, as Gardner-Webb tacked on three tallies courtesy of a MacMillan free throw and a Silver layup to give the Runnin' Bulldogs a three-point edge at halftime, 31-28.

Silver rounded out the half as the game's leading scorer with nine tallies. Gordon paced the Flames in points with eight.

The Runnin' Bulldogs shot 45.5 percent from the field before halftime, hitting 10-of-22 shots. The Flames nearly mirrored their opponent's first-half shooting performance, sinking 10-of-23 shots (43.3 percent). Both teams matched one another from the charity stripe, making seven shots, respectively. The difference came from downtown, as Gardner-Webb outscored the Flames in three-point land, 12-4.

Three-pointers themed the opening minutes of the second period, as the Flames came out of the locker room sinking back-to-back treys to take a 34-31 lead. Hailey tied the contest at 34, answering the pair of Liberty three-pointers with one of his own at 18:15.

Down by three, 37-34, as a result of a 6-0 Gardner-Webb run, Liberty netted four unanswered points off baskets from Ohman and Gordon to regain a one-point edge at 14:19, 38-37.

Another series of three-pointers began at 11:59, as Anderson hit his third trey of the contest to knot it at 43. Flittner answered seven seconds later, breaking the stalemate with a counter three-pointer to put the Runnin' Bulldogs up by three, 46-43. Following four-straight points from the Flames to take a one-point lead, Flittner found nylon again, hitting another trey to reclaim the lead for the Runnin' Bulldogs at 10:41, 49-47.

Silver stretched the Gardner-Webb lead to six with 8:46 left in the game, sinking a three-point shot to make it 53-47. Anderson matched Silver's bucket at the other end to cut it to three, but the Gardner-Webb sharpshooter answered on the next possession with another trey, reclaiming the six-point advantage for Gardner-Webb at 8:03, 56-50.

Following Silver's three-pointer, the Runnin' Bulldogs went scoreless from the field until the final 27 seconds of the contest. Liberty capitalized on Gardner-Webb's scoring drought, out-pointing the home team 19-5 down the stretch to earn its first win inside the Paul Porter Arena, 69-61.

The Flames improve to 13-13 overall and 8-6 in the Big South with the win, while Gardner-Webb falls to 7-18 on the season and 4-11 in conference play.

Three players each finished with a game-high 17 points in the contest – Silver, Anderson and Gordon. Anderson's scoring performance set a new season high, surpassing his previous mark of 15. Ohman and Burrus rounded out Liberty's quartet of double-digit scorers, finishing with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Despite posting just three points in the contest, Sanders managed to garner a double-double by finishing with 10 boards and 10 assists.

Liberty shot 44.0 percent (22-of-50) on the night, while holding Gardner-Webb to 41.2 percent (21-of-51).

Liberty returns home Tuesday to host Radford at 7 p.m. The matchup is the second of two Flames contests broadcast on ESPN FullCourt. The last time the Flames and Highlanders matched up, Liberty left the Dedmon Center with a 60-55 win on Jan. 23.

Gardner-Webb heads to Rock Hill, S.C., on Tuesday, to square off with the Winthrop Eagles. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.