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Late Free Throws Help Virginia-Lynchburg Stun Men's Basketball 79-72 in Season-Opening Highway 52 Shootout

Box Score

MISENHEIMER, N.C. – Despite shooting just 18-of-31 from the free throw line, Virginia University of Lynchburg would drain their final eight attempts over the final 50 seconds to stun Pfeiffer University 79-72 in the second game of the Best Western of Albemarle Highway 52 Shootout inside the Merner Gym. Saturday night marked the 2012-2013 season openers for both teams.

A layup by freshman Joe Ledbetter (Stone Mountain, GA) got the Falcons to within one at 71-70 with just 56 seconds left in regulation. Lakuan McPhaul (Lynchburg, VA) would connect of two of the Dragons eight free throws six seconds later before Egor Shakhmetov (Moscow, RUSSIA) drained two more after a missed three-ball attempt by the Falcons. After a Montez Singleton (Charlotte, NC) layup with 31 seconds left, McPhaul and Dennis Gravely (Martinsville, VA) would hit the final charity stripe shots to ice the Dragons seven-point win.

Earlier in the first half, the Falcons would erase a 12-point deficit with 7:49 before the half to carry a three-point, 35-32 lead into the locker room. Silvere Aluko (Manchester, NH) would make a pair of baskets while triples from Cade Isley (Greensboro, NC) and Josh Humphrey (Matthews, NC) put the hosts their three at the break.

Both teams went back-and-forth early on in the second until an 11-1 run by the Dragons put them up 54-45 with 11:53 to play. Pfeiffer would keep chipping away midway through the period to eventual grab a 61-59 lead on another Humphrey triple. After another go-ahead bucket by the Falcons’ Tayron Gibson (Dumfries, VA), a three-ball by McPhaul would allow enough breathing room for the Dragons to hit those late free throws and hold on at the end.

Virginia-Lynchburg was led by Gravely’s 30 points shooting 11-of-20 from the floor with nine rebounds. McPhaul followed with 20 as Shakhmetov and Tony Talavae (Sydney, AUSTRALIA) each finished with 14 and 10. The Dragons would shoot 42.6% from the floor while blocking eight shots on defense and picking up 14 steals.

Humphrey led the Falcons with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Gibson and Ledbetter each concluded with 10. Pfeiffer would struggle from behind the arc connected on just five triples during the contest.

Pfeiffer will now take on Catawba, who was thumped by Livingstone 75-51 in the first contest, during the consolation game at 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Virginia-Lynchburg and Livingstone will meet in the championship game at 5:00 p.m.

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