Liberty faced Austin Peay in the St. Pete Shootout Championship game on Saturday at Eckerd College. The Flames led by five points at halftime, but Austin Peay stormed back in the second half to defeat Liberty 75-66. Liberty falls to 10-4 this season.
Liberty struggled at the beginning of the game to develop a rhythm on offense but got hot to close out the first half, shooting 60 percent in the half, led by Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz's 10 points at the break. Going into the second half, Austin Peay made it difficult for the Flames, limiting Liberty to shoot 32.1 percent from the field, making just nine field goals in the half. Austin Peay's Terry Taylor was exceptional all night on offense, scoring 32 points, shooting 12-of-17 from the field while Taylor and the Govenors shot 55.2 percent in the final half.
Key Stats & Notes
Liberty was outscored 40-26 inside the paint.
The Flames shot 45.3 percent for the game while Austin Peay shot 55.8 percent from the field.
This was Liberty's first loss of the season after leading at halftime.
Liberty had only two players score in double-figures, as Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz led the team with 15 points and Lovell Cabbil Jr. scored 14 points.
Liberty shot 60 percent in the first half, the second-highest shooting percentage in a half this season (61.5 percent against Alcorn State).
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz scored 10 points in the first half.
Both teams combined to shoot 21-of-22 from the free throw line as Liberty went 8-of-8 and Austin Peay shot 13-of-14 from the line.
Thoughts from Coach McKay
"I thought in the first half we took a really big punch and responded well. Austin Peay is a good team, and we knew coming in that it was going to be hard, especially with no prep time but I thought our guys responded well, despite the foul trouble. In the second half, we got away from what we do every day."
The Flames will head home for Christmas break before closing out their non-conference schedule on the road against Pac-12 opponent, UCLA. Tip-off against the Bruins is set for 6 p.m. EST at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 29.