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LYNCHBURG, Va. - Liberty held off a furious Gardner-Webb rally in the final minute to hold on for a 63-58 win Thursday night at the Vines Center.

After Gardner-Webb (10-14, 5-7 Big South) cut the lead to 59-56 with 37.5 seconds left, the Runnin' Bulldogs made it difficult for the Flames to inbounds, but Jesse Sanders drew a foul with 21.6 seconds left and made a pair of free throws to put Liberty up 61-56.

The Runnin' Bulldogs missed a pair of 3-pointers on the ensuing possession, and David Minaya made two more free throws to seal the game with 8.7 seconds left.

Sanders finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Flames (9-15, 4-8 Big South). His younger brother John Caleb Sanders added 12 points off the bench and David Minaya scored 16 points - making six shots in a row after starting the game 0-for-8 from the floor.

Gardner-Webb lost its fourth league road game in a row by six points or less, falling behind for good midway through the second half as Liberty used a surprising 14-2 run to go up 47-37 with 7:05 remaining.

The Runnin' Bulldogs cut the lead back to five points on a pair of Tashan Newsome baskets, but saw Liberty go on another 6-0 spurt to lead 53-42 with just over four minutes left.

Liberty led 55-45 after a Jesse Sanders' layup with3:47 left, but Jason Dawson connected on a 3-pointer with 2:00 left in the game to spark an 11-4 run that cut the Flames' lead to 59-56 with 37.5 seconds left on back-to-back buckets from Newsome.

The Runnin' Bulldogs endured a very tough night offensively, shooting just 4-of-17 from 3-point range for the game (23.5 percent) and 24-of-60 from the floor overall (40.0 percent) .

Liberty was on fire from long distance in the early going, knocking in 5-of-10 chances in the opening half to lead 25-22 at the break. The Flames came into the game shooting under 29 percent from 3-point range on the season.

Newsome heated up for Gardner-Webb in the early stages of the second half, helping the 'Dogs build a four point lead with 14:08 remaining - but Minaya found his stroke after starting 0-for-8 from the floor and J.C. Sanders continued to knock down perimeter jumpers to spark the Flames' game-changing run.

Newsome led Gardner-Webb with 21 points, Dawson had nine and Max Landis scored seven for the Runnin' Bulldogs.

Liberty shot lights out in the second half, knocking down 13-of-23 shots (56.5 percent) to finish at 43.1 percent for the game (22-of-51) - and made 6-of-13 shots from long range (46.2 percent).

Gardner-Webb will now head to High Point, N.C., to face High Point on Saturday night at 7:00 pm in another key Big South Conference matchup. The Runnin' Bulldogs rallied in the final minute of regulation at home and held on to beat High Point in overtime on January 7.


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