Hot-shooting Liberty defeats Camels 89-72

Robbie Laing and Marvelle Harris
(Dana Laing photo)
Robbie Laing and Marvelle Harris (Dana Laing photo)

LYNCHBURG, VA. – Liberty shot 67 percent from the field in the second half, hitting 6-of-8 threes in the process, and defeated Campbell 89-72 Tuesday night at the Vines Center.

Tavares Speaks scored a career-high 22 points, Davon Marshall had 22 and John Caleb Sanders 21 for the Flames (7-15, 3-5), who made 26-of-33 free throws (.788) and shot 57 percent from the floor on the night.

Big South North Division leader Campbell (10-12, 5-3) suffered consecutive losses for the first time since before Christmas.  Four Camels scored in double figures and CU had only 9 turnovers, but couldn't make enough defensive stops.

Trey Freeman led Campbell with 17 points.  Marvelle Harris and Darian Hooker added 15 each and Leek Leek 14 for CU, which made 40 percent of its shots and hit 18-of-23 from the stripe (.783).

Campbell trailed 38-32 at the break, but cut the lead to 47-45 when Hooker canned a three from the right corner with 14:50 to play.  However, Sanders hit a second-chance three on the next possession to start a 16-4 run that included a trio of treys from Marshall, the last with 10:50 remaining that pushed the margin to 63-49. 

The Camels never cut the lead to single digits the rest of the way as the Flames led by as many as 21.  Liberty entered the game last in the conference in field goal shooting (.414), but produced its best night from the field this season against a Division I opponent.

Speaks made 11-of-14 from the line and 5-of-10 from the floor.  Sanders hit 9-of-10 free throws and 5-of-9 from the field, while dealing 7 assists.  Marshall connected on 7-of-10 shot, 5-of-8 from long range.

Freeman scored 15 of his 17 in the second half and made 6-of-10 from the field on the night for CU, whie finished with a 19-11 advantage in second-chance points.

Liberty rode an early 14-2 run to grab the lead, which reached 9 points twice in the opening half.  LU held a 34-25 edge with 4:26 left after Speaks hit a pair of free throws, but the Camels cut the deficit to six (38-32) at intermission.

Speaks made 4-of-5 from the floor and all 8 of his first-half free throws in a 17-point opening half.  The senior from Raleigh reached double figures for the 11th-straight game with 7:18 to go in the first period.

Hooker led the Camels with 10 first-half points and Marvelle Harris added 8.  Campbell held an 11-3 edge in second-chance points during the opening 20 minutes when Liberty made 13-of-16 from the line, while the Camels hit 3-of-4.

Campbell and Liberty have evenly split the 20 meetings in the series, but the Camels are 0-7 all-time at the Vines Center.  Campbell has not won on Liberty's home floor since Jan. 5, 1976 when the Camels earned an 85-78 victory at Jefferson Forest High School.

The Camels begin a stretch of 4 home games in the next 5 on Saturday vs. defending Big South champion UNC Asheville (3:30 p.m.).