(CONWAY S.C.) — Liberty knocked off Charleston Southern 87-76 in the Big South Conference tournament finals on Sunday, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament despite their 15-20 regular-season record.
The Flames (15-20, 6-10 Big South) opened their season with eight-straight losses, but got hot at the right time. They went on a five-game winning streak with the last four coming in the conference tournament to earn their first trip to the dance since 2004.
Liberty joins the 2008 Coppin State team as the only schools with 20 or more losses to qualify for the field of 68.
John Caleb Sanders led the Flames with 27 points. Tournament MVP Davon Marshall chipped in 20 points, including six three-pointers.
“We’ve played four of our best games in these four games of the tournament,” Sanders said. “Talk about peaking at the exact right time.”
Charleston Southern (19-12, 12-4) was the top seed heading into the Big South Tournament. Saah Nimley scored 18 points in the loss for the Buccaneers.
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Robert Patten, EastIdahoNews.com
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com