LYNCHBURG, Va. - Union College’s Deante Johnson scored a game-high 17 points, but host and NCAA Division-I member Liberty (Va.) used a big second half to pull away from the Bulldogs in a 104-67 victory Friday evening. The matchup was an exhibition contest for Union.
In the first half, Union stayed with the Liberty over the first nine minutes, as the host Flames held just a 22-19 lead with 11 minutes left after a Tyrell Hall three-pointer. Liberty, however, went on a 12-3 run over the next couple of minutes to open a 34-22 lead with seven minutes left in the period.
The closest UC got to the lead the rest of the first period was at nine points (39-30), as Liberty went into the half with a 47-32 lead.
In the second half, Union cut the Liberty lead down to eight points on two separate occasions, the last coming at 53-45 after a James Strange three with 15:54 left. But, this was the closest the Bulldogs would come to the lead the rest of the game, as Liberty rolled over the next few minutes to open an 20-point lead (75-55) with nine minutes left.
From there, Liberty coasted, on their way to a big 37-point win at home over Union.
Overall, Johnson led the way for UC in his first action of the 2012-13 season, scoring his game-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Three other Bulldogs scored in double-figures on the night, as Tyler Wagner scored 15 points, while Hall and Tarik Smith scored 11 points, apiece.
In the win for Liberty, four separate players scored 14 points each on the night, led by JR Coronado, who recorded a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday, traveling to Morehead State (Ky.) for another exhibition contest against an NCAA Division-I opponent. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.