Sunday, March 10, 2013
Cinderella is into the Big Dance
Less than one week into Championship Week and we have our first Cinderella. The Liberty Flames continued their unlikely journey through the Big South Tournament and knocked off the top seed in the South, Charleston Southern, to win the Big South Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Liberty scored on the last play of the first half gaining the lead and held the Buccaneers off in the second half en route to the 87-76 victory. They will enter the NCAA Tournament with a record of 15-20.
The Flames came into the Big South Tournament having lost 4 of their last 6 games but caught fire at the right time. They came out in the first round and dominated the home Coastal Carolina team. In the quarterfinals, took care of the top seed in the North, High Point in a close one, then the second seed in the south, Gardner-Webb in the semifinals.
In the Championship Game, the Flames were led by the one-two-three punch of John Caleb Sanders, Tavares Speaks and Davon Marshall. Sanders poured in a game high 27 points to go with 7 rebounds while Marshall added 20 points. Speaks came up with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
Liberty out rebounded Charleston Southern by a margin of 38-28 and were aided by a 9-18 effort from behind the three point line.
It was a one possession game until the 12:53 mark of the second half, when the Flames opened up a 4 point lead. The game never got any closer.
The Lynchburg, Virginia school will enter the NCAA Tournament with 20 losses but a lot of momentum.
(photo of John Caleb Sanders courtesy of liberty.edu)