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Liberty builds big halftime lead, holds off High Point in 2nd half for 61-60 Big South upset

Liberty built a 17-point halftime lead, then held off a furious High Point rally for a 61-60 upset Thursday night in a Big South tournament quarterfinal.

The Flames (13-20, 6-10) will play Gardner-Webb in Saturday's semifinals.

Liberty, which never trailed, led 39-22 at halftime and by 19 early in the second half. But High Point (17-13, 12-4) mounted a furious late rally. The Panthers, down by 19, got within a point in the final minute but couldn't get off a shot in the closing seconds.

Tavares Speaks led Liberty with 17 points. Davon Marshall scored 16 and John Caleb Sanders pitched in 12. Sanders was 6 for 6 at the foul line, and Liberty was a collective 17 of 18 at the stripe. High Point made 18 of 26 free throws.

Liberty shot 44.4 percent from the field (20 of 45). High Point hit 33.3 percent (19 of 57).