Brown’s Put Back Lifts Liberty Over Asheville In Overtime
The Bulldogs (10-10, 5-5 BSC) trailed for most of the contest but a furious comeback in the second half allowed them to take the lead at 73-72 with 1:40 remaining on the clock. Asheville would then push its lead to 75-72 on a pair of Matt Dickey free throws but a trey by Evan Gordon of Liberty tied the game with 19 seconds remaining.
In overtime the two teams traded points back and forth when Jaron Lane hit a clutch layup with 37 seconds to go to tie the game at 81. Liberty (15-7, 9-1 BSC) played for the last shot which was taken by David Minaya with 2.3 seconds to go. It was off Minaya’s missed 3-pointer that Brown was able to hit the tip-in as time expired, lifting the Flames to victory.
“This was a game that both teams deserved to win,” said Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach. “We turned the ball over and made mistakes, sometimes they come back and bite you and sometimes they don’t. Either team could have won this game with a shot made here or a shot made there, but I’ve got to congratulate Liberty on the win.”
In the first half the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Liberty went on a 15-4 run to take the early lead. The Bulldogs committed costly turnovers over that stretch but was able to weather the storm, going point-for-point with the Flames over the final five minutes of the first half.
In the closing moments of the first half and Asheville trailing by 10 at 39-29 Trent Meyer picked up a big steal and hit a 3-pointer with the clock winding down to cut Liberty’s lead to seven entering the break at 39-32.
Asheville outscored the Flames 43-36 in the second half to make up that seven point difference, but Brown’s heroics in overtime would be the difference.
Dickey finished the night with 20 points to lead all Bulldogs and now just needs one point to reach 1,000 for his career. D.J. Cunningham scored 16 points for Asheville including 14 in the second half. At one point Cunningham scored nine consecutive pulling the Bulldogs to within a point at 70-69.
Both Cunningham and Dickey came close to recording double-doubles, with Cunningham pulling down nine rebounds and Dickey earning nine assists.
Liberty’s Jesse Flanders led the team in scoring with 20 points with Gordon chipping in 17 for the Flames. Their 15th win of the season matches the Flames’ win total from all of last season and keeps them firmly in second place in the Big South at 9-1. The victory was also the 300th career win for Liberty head coach Dale Layer.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday when they finish their swing through the state of Virginia the Big South foe VMI in a game scheduled for 1 p.m. Liberty will welcome league opponent Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening at the Vines Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.