LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Liberty men's basketball team's 65-53 win over Presbyterian College inside the Vines Center Saturday night marked a special day for one of its veteran players. Needing just three points to become the 24th member of Liberty's 1,000-point club, Antwan Burrus did just that and more, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
The redshirt senior now joins teammate John Caleb Sanders in the exclusive club, as the tandem is the sixth pair of Liberty players to share the honor simultaneously.
With the win, Liberty moves to 9-12 overall and 3-3 in conference play. PC falls to 4-17 on the year and 0-6 in Big South action. Liberty now leads the all-time series, 7-6.
Sanders and Tomasz Gielo each led the Flames offense with 13 points. Jordan Downing led PC with a game-high 24 points, followed by Austin Anderson who had 11.
Liberty shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field, while the Blue Hose shot 41.7 percent (20-of-48). The Flames held a slight edge inside the paint (28-22) and along the perimeter (27-24). Liberty took advantage of second chance points (16-2), courtesy of 17 offensive rebounds. Dale Layer's squad ended the night outrebounding the Blue Hose by a margin of 23 (41-18).
Liberty shot 37.9 percent (11-of-29) compared to 50.0 percent (11-of-22) for the Blue Hose. The Flames outrebounded PC during the half, 21-8. Liberty's 11 offensive boards in the period allowed the Flames to outscore the Blue Hose, 11-0, in second chance points.
Liberty began the second half with a trio of three-pointers, including one from Marshall sandwiched between two by Gielo. The Poland native's second three-pointer put the Flames ahead, 44-35, at 16:52.
The Flames continued to distance themselves from the Blue Hose, thanks in part to more three-pointers from Casey Roberts and Gielo. Burrus gave Liberty its largest lead, 18, with 4:06 left. The redshirt senior capped his scoring with a highlight reel alley-oop off a long range lob from Gielo at 1:06. Andrew Smith followed cemented Liberty's scoring on the night with a thunderous jam of his own, setting up the 65-53 final.
Liberty heads to the site where it captured its 2013 Big South Championship this Wednesday. The Flames will square off with Coastal Carolina at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.