The Liberty Flames snapped a four-game losing streak Friday afternoon with a 70-53 win over the Hampton Pirates in the opener of the 2013 Corpus Christi Challenge at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The victory marked the Flames' first-ever against an NCAA Division I opponent after moving to full-fledged D-I competition this year in men's basketball.
Liberty (2-5), which also came into the game on a four-game losing streak, used a 13-5 run in the first half and an 13-4 run right after intermission to send the Pirates (2-5) to their fifth straight loss after Hampton started the season 2-0.
Liberty was led by guard freshman forward Antwan Burrus, who scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half to help the Flames jump out to a 32-25 lead at halftime before finishing with 17 points and tying a career-high with 13 rebounds.
Flames guard John Caleb Sanders, who tallied 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds, also hit two big 3-pointers in the second half both times Hampton looked like it would make a run. Sanders finished 3-for-3 from beyond the arc as Liberty shot 49 percent in the first half and 60 in the second.
Hampton, which was coming off a 69-40 blowout loss to Virginia, trailed by as many as 21 but cut Liberty's lead down to 11 points twice in the second half, although Hampton never got closer.
The Pirates were led by forward De'Vaughn Maxwell, who was the only Pirates player in double figures with 17.
Liberty outrebounded Hampton 46-24, including 15 on the offensive glass. The Pirates shot 33 percent for the game and could not take advantage of 18 turnovers by the Flames.
Both teams will play their Corpus Christi Challenge finale on Saturday. Liberty will play against the winner of Friday's late game between Sam Houston State (4-2) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-4), while Hampton will face the loser.
Liberty now leads the all-time series with Hampton 3-2. This was the first meeting on a neutral court between the two programs.