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Flames Win Fifth-Straight Game With 84-67 Victory Over St. Francis

December 4, 2006  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Anthony Smith completes the alley opp.

Anthony Smith completes the alley opp.

Liberty (5-1) won its fifth-straight game behind 21 points from Larry Blair as the Flames beat St. Francis (2-4) on Monday night at the Vines Center, 84-67. 

St. Francis jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead capped by two free throws by Chris Berry at 18:06.The Flames came charging back going on a 9-2 run of their own capped by a jumper from the corner by Blair with 16:04 remaining in the first half to give the Flames the 9-8 lead. 

Over the next five minutes both teams went back and forth as the Flames held a 10-9 advantage after a lay-up by Anthony Smith at the 11:36 mark in the first half giving Liberty the 19-17 lead. 

The Red Flash than snapped off a 10-4 run, capped by a basket from Devin Sweetney to give St. Francis the 27-23 lead with 7:23 left in the opening period. 

The first half continued to be a battle as the Flames held a 16-14 advantage over the final seven minutes of the first half, but it was the Red Flash who took the 41-39 lead into the locker room. An Alex McLean dunk with 58 seconds left in the half tied the game up at 39 apiece but he was tagged for a technical foul for slapping the back board, giving two free shots to St. Francis. Sweetney hit both the shots to take the two-point advantage into the half when a Blair shot from the right elbow didn't fall with three second remaining. 

St. Francis shot 51.9 percent from the field on 14-of-27 shooting. It was the first time all season an opponent shot over 50 percent in the opening half against the Flames. 

The Flames opened the second half on a 6-2 run to take a 45-43 lead with 17:30 left in the game after Rell Porter sank two free throws. 

The Flames then went on an 10-3 run capped by a Jenkins three-point basket from the corner followed by a Blair runner in the lane to give the Flames a 55-46 lead with 13:26 remaining in the game. 

The Flames increase their lead to 67-53 after a 12-7 Liberty run culminated on an alley-oop dunk by Smith on a pass from Jenkins with 7:40 remaining in the game. The Flames than continued the fire proceeding on a 10-4 run capped off on a fast break basket by Smith on a feed from Holland giving the Flames a 77-59 lead with 4:31 left in the game. 

Over the final four minutes the Flames and Red Flash were neck and neck as Liberty clinched its fifth-straight home victory of the season. The last time the Flames won five-straight home games was during the 2003-04 campaign, a season that culminated with the Big South Championship.
The Red Flash were as cold in the second half shooting as they were hot in the first half, hitting only 32.3 percent of their attempts on 10-of-31 shooting. The Flames however continue to fire on all cylinders shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the second half on 16-of-24 shooting and an impressive 58.2 percent on 32-of-55 from the field on the game. 

The Flames had five players score in double figures spearheaded by Blair's game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Smith's 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting. McLean scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds despite playing with severe flu like symptoms. Damien Hubbard scored a season-high 12 points and Jenkins rounds out the top performers with 10 points, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes of play compounding on his Big South Freshman of the Week honors from last week. 

The Red Flash were led by Sweetney who scored 20 points while grabbing seven rebounds and Chris Berry who scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. 

The victory marked the first win for the Flames after three previous meetings with St. Francis. The game also marked the first meeting between these two schools since the Red Flash beat the Flames 73-72 on December 3, 1990 in Loretto, Pa. 

These two schools conclude the season series against each other on December 16 in Loretto, Pa. That game marks the first time Dwight Brewington will be able to suit up for the Flames. Brewington is set to miss the first seven games of the year due to the NCAA transfer rules. 

The Flames are back in action on Saturday when Longwood comes to the Vines Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Flames Television Network.