Cabbil scores career-high 21 in Liberty win over Campbell

libertyLiberty successfully closed out its first conference homestand against Campbell at the Vines Center on Saturday afternoon. Liberty’s Lovell Cabbil netted a career-high 21 points as the Flames (8-9, 3-1 BSC) defeated the Camels (9-7, 2-2 BSC) behind an impressive offensive performance in the first half, followed up by exceptional defense in the second half.

The duo of Cabbil (21 points, five rebounds, two assists) and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz (11 points, five rebounds, two assists) combined for 32 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. After the Flames built a lead in the first half, shooting 54.2 percent for the half, they held Campbell to 31.8 percent in the second half.

Both teams struggled on offense to open up the game as a combined eight points were scored in the first six minutes. Liberty took its first lead of the game at the 13:13 mark in the first half off a layup by Pacheco-Ortiz that put the Flames up 6-4 and Liberty would never relinquish the lead. All of Liberty’s first six points were inside the paint, while the Flames also forced four turnovers in the first six minutes. Cabbil extended Liberty’s lead, going on a 7-0 run by himself, to help the home team jump out to a 13-6 lead.

The starting backcourt of Pacheco-Ortiz, Cabbil and John Dawson did a good job of kick starting Liberty’s offense as the trio scored the team’s first 13 points. The Flames remained efficient on offense, going on a streak of 10 straight made field goals while the defense held Chris Clemons to just two points in the first 12 minutes of the game.

Cabbil went into the game averaging 7.2 points per game. In the first half he doubled his average, scoring 15 points and shooting 71.4 percent from the field. From the 5:47 mark in the first half until 2:31, the Flames went on a 6-0 run as they continued to dominate the points inside the paint.

Campbell’s Clemons came alive late in the first half to score eight points in the final eight minutes but the Flames continued to attack the paint, outscoring Campbell 18-8 in the paint in the first 20 minutes of play. Pressuring the Camels on defense, the Flames forced seven turnovers in the first half and converted those into seven points. After shooting 54.2 percent in the first half, Liberty went into halftime with a 36-26 lead.

The second half saw many runs and scoring droughts from both teams as both offenses saw peaks and valleys. From the end of the first half into the start of the second half the Flames went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 40-26 early in the second half. It took the Camels six minutes to score a point in the second half, and when Liberty’s offense was struggling to score the defense remained consistent.

The Flames were unable to score a field goal for a six-minute span and in that time Campbell was able to cut Liberty’s lead to just eight points (42-34). Liberty’s defense locked down as the Camels went through a three-minute scoring drought of their own.

A.C. Reid ended Liberty’s drought to put the Flames up 45-36 but continued to struggle to score as Campbell’s Clemons nailed a three-pointer with 3:49 left in the game to come within five points of the Flames (45-40). With two and a half minutes left, Campbell continued to chip away at the lead, coming within four points (48-44). But the Flames received a jolt of energy from Cabbil with a layup plus the foul to put Liberty up 51-44.

Campbell began to foul, sending the Flames to the free-throw line with a minute left in the game and Liberty converted 10-12 free-throws to seal the 61-54 win over the Camels.

The Flames will return to action in the Big South Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, when they travel to take on High Point. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Millis Center.

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