Hughes, Thomas lead UNC Asheville past Liberty, 73-56

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) Sam Hughes scored 17, and Ahmad Thomas had 15 points with 10 rebounds to help UNC Asheville beat Liberty 73-56 Thursday night.

Kevin Vannatta added 13 points for UNC Asheville, which secured a first-round bye in next week's Big South Conference tournament.

A jumper by Vannatta capped a 10-2 run that put the Bulldogs (19-10, 12-5) up 19-7 with 12 minutes left in the first half.

Two free throws by Evan Maxwell cut the Liberty (12-18, 9-8) deficit to three just more than five minutes later, but Asheville scored 16 of the final 19 points of the half to take 35-19 lead into the break.

It was the Flames' third-lowest scoring half of the season.

A.C. Reid led Liberty with 11 points. Lovell Cabbil scored 10.

UNC Asheville held a 42-31 edge on the glass and limited the Flames to 37.7 percent (20-of-53) shooting.

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