Liberty basketball drops road contest at Campbell

liberty basketballLiberty would make 11 of its last 14 field goal attempts to close out the game but was unable to get the necessary stops on defense as the Flames suffered a 79-69 loss to Campbell.

The Flames drop to 17-12 overall and 8-8 in the Big South while Campbell improves to 15-13 and 9-7 in conference. Despite quality numbers on offense shooting 55.1 percent (27-49) from the field and outscoring Campbell 32-18 inside the paint, Liberty was unable to stop Campbell’s three-point shooting as the Camels made 15-27 (55.6 percent) from three led by Chris Clemons with 26 points, including four three-pointers in the second half.

Ryan Kemrite led Liberty with 14 points while tying his season-high in rebounds (6). Also with a team-high six rebounds was Caleb Homesley while scoring 11 points.

The Flames started the game attacking the rim, scoring their first eight points inside the paint. As Liberty started 3-5 from the field, the defense held Campbell scoreless for over three minutes to jump out to an 8-2 lead. Marcus Burk kept Campbell in the game early, scoring the Camel’s first eight points. Liberty’s offense hit a bit of a scoring draught midway through the first half as Campbell took the lead (17-16) with eight minutes left in the half.

Campbell took advantage of Liberty’s offensive struggles, going on a 7-0 run to take a 24-18 lead with six minutes left in the first half. Liberty’s bench would pick up the slack on offense, as Homesley and Myo-Baxter Bell as the two combined for 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in the first half. The Flames would go into the break trailing by five, 32-27.

The Camels shot well from three-point range in the first half, converting 40 percent (6-15) while the Flames were just 1-10. While the Camels were effective from the outside, Liberty controlled the paint, outscoring Campbell 16-6 while the bench contributed 17 of Liberty’s 27 points.

Early in the second half Liberty went on a 6-0 run to come within two points (35-33) of Campbell’s lead. After struggling in the first half, Liberty started to make some threes as the team made its first three from beyond the arc. Campbell countered with a 9-0 run of themselves sparked by Clemons with three straight makes from beyond the arc for an 11-point lead (47-36).

The Camels continued to attack on offense as they would make 6-8 field goals midway through the second half to hold their largest lead of the game (56-43) with nine and a half minutes left in the game. Attempting a comeback, Liberty made seven straight field goals to cut Campbell’s lead to single digits (67-59) with five minutes left in the game.

After Campbell rebuilt its lead, Kemrite would give Liberty one last shot at a comeback with back-to-back three-pointers to trail by just four (73-69) with 2:26 left in the game. Unable to stop Campbell’s offense, the Camels would seal the win ending the game on a 6-0 run.

The Flames will close out the regular season with two games at home next week against Radford and High Point. Liberty will start its homestand against Radford on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Vines Center.

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