Conway, SC - Liberty built a 17-point halftime lead, then held off a furious High Point rally for a 61-60 upset Thursday night in the Big South Men's Tournament quarterfinals.
The Flames advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2009, they'll play Gardner-Webb Saturday at 2. Liberty improves to 13-and-20 overall, 6-and-10 in the Big South.
The Flames, who never trailed, led 39-22 at halftime and by 19 early in the second half. But High Point (17-13, 12-4) mounted a furious late rally. The Panthers got within a point in the final minute but couldn't get off a shot before the buzzer in the closing seconds.
Tavares Speaks led Liberty with 17 points. Davon Marshall scored 16 and John Caleb Sanders pitched in 12. Liberty hit 17 of 18 free throws on the night and shot 44 percent from the field to 33 percent for High Point.
VMI also won its quarterfinal game, holding off Longwood 90-86. Big South Player of the Year Stan Okoye led the Keydets with 31, 25 came in the first half. Longwood's Michael Kessens led all scorers with 36 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. VMI faces Charleston Southern in Saturday's first semifinal game at noon.