Conway, SC - For the first time since 2004, the Liberty Flames men's basketball team will play in the Big South Tournament championship game.
The Flames held off Gardner-Webb in Saturday's semifinals to earn their spot in Sunday's noon title game at Coastal Carolina.
John Caleb Sanders had a big game for LU, leading all scorers with 19. And Sanders got plenty of help, Joel Vander Pol added 11 points, 7 rebounds and Tavares Speaks chipped in 10.
Liberty led by as many as 11 in the second half. Gardner-Webb stormed back, but the Flames held on. The Flames improve to 14-and-20 on the season with the victory.
Tashan Newsome and Max Landis led the Runnin' Bulldogs (21-12) with 15 points, apiece. Point guard Tyler Strange finished with 12 tallies followed by Kevin Hartley, who closed out Gardner-Webb's scoring with 10 points.
Senior guard Erin Neal scored a game-high 16 points and freshman guard Daeisha Brown scored 14 points and made two free throws in the final seconds for Longwood to secure the upset win. The seventh-seeded Lancers improved to 14-18 on the season with the victory.