Big South Roundup, Day 3: Liberty upends High Point

Big South North Division regular-season champion High Point cut a 19-point second-half deficit to one against No. 5 North Liberty in Thursday’s fourth and final quarterfinal contest at the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men’s Basketball Championship. However, the Flames held on for a 61-60 upset victory at The HTC Center.

Liberty (13-20), which put three players in double figures, reaches the semifinal round for the first time since 2009.  The Flames will face No. 2 South Gardner-Webb Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN3.

High Point (17-13) had defeated Liberty twice during the regular season but never led on Thursday, as the Flames limited the Panthers to 33.3 percent (19-of-57) field goal shooting.

The Panthers had a chance to win the game at the end, getting a defensive stop and taking over possession under their own basket with 4.5 seconds left trailing, 61-60. However, Adam Weary could not get a potential game-winning shot attempt out of his hand before the final buzzer sounded.

Tavares Speaks led the victors with 17 points, while Davon Marshall chipped in 16 and John Caleb Sanders added a dozen.

For the Panthers, Allan Chaney scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime, while Dejuan McGaughy tallied all 13 of his markers during the final 20 minutes.

* Charleston Southern 54, Winthrop 47: Mathiang Muo scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Charleston Southern to a victory over Winthrop Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Conference men’s basketball championship at The HTC Center.

Despite shooting just 28 percent from the floor, the South Division champion Buccaneers advanc to the Semifinals thanks to a 45-28 edge on the glass and 16-second chance points.

CSU will meet the winner of Thursday afternoon’s quarterfinal game between VMI and Longwood in Saturday’s 12:00 p.m. Semifinal on ESPN3.

All 15 of Muo’s points came from behind the 3-point arc, where he hit 5-of-11 attempts, none bigger than a step-back trey from the right wing that pushed the edge to six (52-46) with 2:35 remaining in the game.

Charleston Southern (18-11) knocked down 19-of-21 (.905) free throws and 8-of-9 in the final stanza.  Jeremy Sexton accounted for the only miss from the stripe in the final half, but the rebound went out of bounds off a Winthrop player and Muo’s shot followed for the last of CSU’s second-opportunity points.

Arlon Harper added 11 points (7-of-8 from the line) for CSU, which won for the first time in 10 games this year when scoring fewer than 70 points.  First-team All-Conference guard Saah Nimley, who entered the game averaging a team-leading 14.9 points, missed 12 of his 13 shots from the field, but dealt 4 assists and did not commit a turnover in 33 minutes of action.

Joab Jerome led Winthrop (14-17) with 15 points, Gideon Gamble added 10 and Andre Smith 9, but the Eagles made just 4-of-28 from 3-point distance (.143) and 16-of-50 from the field (.320) on the day.

* No. 2 North VMI 90, No. 6 North Longwood 86: VMI got 79 points from the trio of Stan Okoye, D.J. Covington and Rodney Glasgow, overcoming Michael Kessens’ tournament-record 36 points and a furious second-half comeback by No. 6 North Longwood.

The Keydets prevailed in an action-packed quarterfinal VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men’s Basketball Championship tilt, Thursday afternoon at The HTC Center. VMI (14-16) reaches the semifinal round for the third straight year, where the Keydets will face No. 1 South Charleston Southern, Saturday at 12:00 p.m.

VMI became the fourth team in Tournament history to have three players score 20 or more points in a game, as Big South Player of the Year Okoye finished with 31, Covington added 26 and Glasgow chipped in 22.

Longwood’s first season in the Big South Conference ends with an 8-25 record, despite Kessens’ career-high 36 points and 15 rebounds.  The freshman broke the tournament single-game record of 35 points previously held by Liberty’s Jamaal Bennett (1999 vs. UNC Asheville) and Radford’s Kenny Thomas (2009 vs. UNC Asheville) on a free throw with 53 seconds remaining.

* Gardner-Webb 71, Campbell 57: Tashan Newsome led five double-figure scorers with 15 points and Gardner-Webb defeated Campbell on Thursday night in the quarterfinal round of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Championship at The HTC Center.

The Bulldogs (21-11) won their eighth-straight game and will advance to Saturday’s 2:00 p.m. semifinal against either High Point or Liberty.

Tyler Strange scored 14 points, Donta Harper and Kevin Hartley 12 each and Jerome Hill 10 for the Gardner-Webb, which finished 2nd in the South Division and has won 11 of its last 12 outings.

Andrew Ryan led Campbell (13-20) with 17 points; Marvelle Harris added 13 and Trey Freeman 11 for the Camels, who finished third in the North Division.

Photo courtesy of BSC

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