Late run pushes Longwood past Liberty, 58-51

liberty basketballLiberty dropped its first home game of the season in the Big South, Friday night, with a 58-51 loss to Longwood. The Flames fall to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the Big South, while Longwood improves to 5-13 and 2-3 in conference play.

The Lancers ended the game on a 14-0 run, holding the Flames scoreless for the last 3:08 of the contest. The Flames shot 38.9 percent for the game (19-of-49) led by Lovell Cabbil who was the only Flame to score in double digits with 10 points. For the first time since Dec. 30, 2017, the Flames were outrebounded as the Lancers grabbed 34 rebounds, while limiting Liberty to 25 boards. After scoring 20 points in the first half, Longwood’s offense heated up in the second half, scoring 38 points led by Isaiah Walton netting 20 of his 22 points in the second half.

After both teams exchanged a pair of buckets early in the contest, Liberty went on a 6-0 run to take an early 10-4 lead. After Longwood came within four points (19-15), Liberty would go on another run to extend its lead as the Flames outscored Longwood 9-1 during four and a half minute span.

Liberty’s defense was exceptional all throughout the first 20 minutes of action, limiting the Lancers to 27 percent (6-of-22) in the first half. The Lancers would convert just one of their last seven field goal attempts as Liberty went into halftime with a 28-20 lead. Twenty points ties for the fewest points Longwood has scored in a first half this season.

The Flames had seven different players score in the first half led by Cabbil with six points. Liberty’s bench outscored the Lancers 12-9 in the first half led by Elijah Cuffee with five points, shooting a perfect 2-for-2 from the field. Both teams protected the paint in the first half as each team scored just eight points inside the paint in the first half.

The Lancers opened up the second half picking up their offense, making four of their first five shots but the Flames were able to limit the damage as they shot 60 percent during the same time span. The Lancers would tie the game at the 15-minute mark (34-34). Liberty’s offense sputtered in the first 10 minutes of the second half scoring just 12 points.

Midway through the second half the Flames started attacking on offense, outscoring the Lancers 13-6 to hold a 51-44 lead with 3:08 left in the game. Down the stretch to end the game Walton (5), Franklin Spencer (4) and Charles Glover (5) scored all 14 points for Longwood to pull off the comeback.

The Flames will have a quick turnaround as they hit the road for a matchup Monday night, Jan. 12, with Radford. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dedmon Center.

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