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Flames End Regular Season with 74-61 Win

February 27, 2010  Charleston, S.C.  RSS
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Evan Gordon tied a career high in scoring with 24 points in Liberty's 74-61 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday.

Evan Gordon tied a career high in scoring with 24 points in Liberty's 74-61 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday.

A pair of guards paved the way for the Flames in their final contest of the regular season, as Evan Gordon and Jesse Sanders tallied 24 and 16 points, respectively, en route to a 74-61 victory, Saturday night.

Gordon and Sanders' scoring efforts tied the tandem's respective career-high marks.

Gordon put the Flames on the board first, connecting on a shot from three-point land to grab the early 3-0, lead. The Buccaneers responded with an offensive flurry, going on a 7-0 run highlighted by five tallies from Jeremy Sexton to gain a 7-3 advantage at 16:13. Gordon halted Charleston Southern's scoring streak 17 seconds later, laying it in under the basket to cut it to a pair, 7-5.

The Buccaneers responded in the ensuing 1:23 with a pair of unanswered layups from Kelvin Martin and Kenny Mitchell to stretch the margin to six, 11-5. Liberty proceeded to go on a 7-2 spurt over the next 3:09, off four tallies from Kyle Ohman and a Chris Perez trey to cut it to one, 13-12 at 11:24.

Sexton made it a two-possession game once again with 8:02 remaining in the half, laying it in to make it 19-15. The Flames erased the Buccaneers' advantage at 7:15, when Jesse Sanders hit his 11th three-pointer of the season to knot it at 21.

After trailing for just over 11 minutes, the Flames regained the lead with 5:39 left in the period, as Carter McMasters threw down an authoritative dunk to give Liberty one-point advantage, 23-22. The advantage lasted only 40 seconds, with Martin answering with a layup on the opposite end to reclaim the edge, 24-23, at 4:59. Gordon tied the contest at 24 just 23 seconds later, sinking a shot at the charity stripe.

Charleston Southern held a three-point advantage, 28-25, with under three minutes left in the half, until Sanders hit his second trey of the contest to give the game its third tie, 28-28. Liberty capped off a 6-0 run down the stretch with a pair of made free throws from Patrick Konan to head into the locker room with a 31-28 edge at halftime.

Gordon and Martin finished the opening period with 11 points apiece. Charleston Southern shot 50.0 percent (11-of-22) from the field, while Liberty shot 42.9 percent (9-of-21). However, the Flames held the advantage behind the three-point arc, knocking down four-of-five (80.0 percent) shots compared to the Buccaneers, one-of-four (25.0 percent). Liberty also outscored Charleston Southern at the foul line, 9-5.

Charleston Southern came out the gate in the second half, scoring seven unanswered points off baskets by Jamarco Warren, Martin, Billy Blackmon, and Quinton Goods to take a four-point lead, 35-31, at 17:05.

After two made free throws from Sanders trimmed it to 35-33, Gordon picked the pocket of Warren following the inbound passed and converted the theft into a layup to knot it at 35 with 16:36 remaining.

With Charleston Southern holding a two-point lead, 37-35, following a dunk by Martin, Antwan Burrus tied the contest again at 37, connecting on a jumper at 16:08.

Both teams went back-and-forth over the next four minutes, each holding a one-possession edge during the span, until Warren hit a three-pointer to knot it at 44 apiece with 11:59 remaining.

Liberty then went on a 5-0 spurt off free throws from McMasters and a Gordon trey to create a 49-44 gap at 10:56. The Flames made it an 11-point game, 58-47, at 7:18, capping off a 14-3 scoring burst with a pair of free throws from Ohman.

The Flames continued to enlarge the lead with 5:20 left in the contest, as Gordon capitalized on a traditional three-point play to make it 65-51. Burrus tacked on two makes from charity stripe 15 seconds later to give Liberty its largest lead of the contest at 16, 67-51.

Charleston Southern chipped away at the Liberty lead, making it a 10-point contest, at 3:22, when Jamraco Warren sunk a trey to trim it to 69-59.

The Buccaneers failed to climb any closer in the matchup, as the Flames went on to close out the regular season with a victory, 74-61.

Gordon's 24 points earned him the game high, while Kelvin Martin led Charleston Southern with 22. Sexton chipped in 13 points for the Buccaneers.

The Flames shot 47.6 percent (20-of-42) from the field in the contest, while the Buccaneers hit 23-of-56 (41.1 percent). Liberty remained dominant from the charity stripe, outscoring Charleston Southern 27-11. The Flames also held the edge from downtown hitting 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) compared to the Buccaneers' 21.1 percent (4-of-19).

Liberty finishes out the regular season 15-15 and 10-8 in conference play, while the Buccaneers fall to 13-16 overall and 7-11 in the Big South.

With Radford's win over Winthrop (54-52) and High Point's victory over Presbyterian (67-48), Liberty remains in the Palmetto State as a No. 6 seed to take on No. 3 Winthrop in the opening round of the 2010 Advance Auto Parts Big South Men's Basketball Championship on Tuesday. Tipoff inside the Winthrop Coliseum is slated for 7 p.m.

Charleston Southern heads to Radford, Va., on Tuesday to take on No. 2 Radford at 7 p.m.