Liberty Wins Regular Season Finale at Radford

From LU athletics:

RADFORD, Va.- The Liberty men's basketball team (11-20, 6-10 Big South) closed out the 2012-13 regular season with a victory, defeating Radford (13-18, 7-9 Big South) inside the Dedmon Center, Saturday, 73-56. The Flames conclude Big South play in the No. 5 spot in the conference's North Division.

Liberty has now won six straight against the Highlanders and five consecutive contests inside the Dedmon Center.

Leading the Flames with a game-high 18 points, Davon Marshall continued to climb the Liberty record books. The Niagara Falls, N.Y., native knocked down six three-pointers to tie Anthony Smith for the third most three-point field goals by a Liberty player in a single season. Marshall now has 84 on the year.

Along with Marshall's point total, Tavares Speaks and John Caleb Sanders each added 16 points, while grabbing eight rebounds apiece. Tomasz Gielo rounded out Liberty's double-digit scorers with 10 tallies.

Rashun Davis led Radford with 17 points, while Javonte Green had 15 points and six rebounds for the Highlanders.

Liberty concluded the afternoon shooting 47.8 percent (22-of-56) from the field, while holding Radford to 31.1 percent (19-of-61). Head coach Dale Layer's squad hit 9-of-17 three-pointers (52.9 percent), limiting the Highlanders to 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from long range. The Flames edged the Highlanders in rebounding, 39-36. Liberty capitalized at the free throw line, hitting 20-of-25 shots (80.0 percent) compared to 15-of-25 (60.0 percent) for the home team.

The Highlanders jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the opening four minutes, thanks in part to three-pointers by Davis and R.J. Price. Liberty countered with five unanswered points off a Casey Roberts jumper and a Gielo three-pointer to knot the contest at 13:11. Liberty later took the lead with a traditional three-point play by Speaks. Gielo followed with another three-pointer to put the Flames ahead by four, 18-14, at 8:57.

Radford reclaimed the advantage at 5:50 courtesy of a Green jumper. The advantage was short-lived, as Marshall knocked down a three-pointer to put Liberty back up by two. Following a pair of free throws from Price, Marshall nailed another downtown jumper at 3:55 to give Liberty a three-point edge. Gielo later closed out the Flames' scoring in the period with a layup, helping the Flames carry a 30-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Liberty shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27) from the field in the opening half, while holding Radford to 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30). The Flames outscored the Highlanders in the paint, 12-4, and also held the advantage on bench points, 14-7.

In the second half, Liberty held the Highlanders scoreless from the field for the opening 4:38, allowing the Flames to take advantage of the drought with a 12-0 run.

After a Speaks layup, Marshall recorded his third three-pointer of the game at 18:39. Speaks and Sanders combined for eight more points to complete the Flames scoring surge. Taj Owens halted the run with a layup at 15:22. Following two free throws from Jalen Carethers, Liberty tacked on five more tallies off a Marshall three-pointer and a Gielo layup to take a 47-31 lead at 13:21.

Radford chipped away at the deficit in the ensuing minutes, closing the gap to eight at the 6:41 mark. Marshall answered for the Flames again, hitting his sixth trey of the contest, tying Smith in the record books and putting Liberty ahead, 61-50, with 5:57 remaining. Liberty continued to pull away in the final moments thanks to solid free throw shooting and a Sanders three-pointer to claim the 73-56 victory.

The Flames and Highlanders will now prepare for the 2013 Big South Championship, which takes place in Conway, S.C., inside The HTC Center. Official tournament seedings will be announced later tonight.