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Liberty Makes History in Win Over Rice

November 23, 2019  Nassau, Bahamas  RSS
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Darius McGhee scored 12 points in a win over Rice.

Darius McGhee scored 12 points in a win over Rice.

Liberty made history Saturday night in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase as the Flames defeated Rice 71-59 to improve to 7-0, Liberty's best start to a season in school history. Liberty is the only team in Division I with a 7-0 record. The Flames will advance to the championship game on Sunday where they will face the winner of East Carolina vs. UMKC game.

Turning Point

Liberty went on two runs throughout the first half that were of 10-0 or more to create a gap between the Flames and the Owls. To end the first half, Liberty went on an 18-2 run to take a 35-20 lead sparked by holding Rice to just 30 percent (7-23) shooting from the field. On the offensive end, Liberty shot 53 percent (15-28) from the field as Liberty's frontcourt of Myo Baxter-Bell (8 points) and Scottie James (9 points) combined for 17 of Liberty's 35 points. Liberty's run would continue to start the second half as the run ended at 29-2 for the Flames. Rice would make comeback at the end of the game but the Flames were able to hold onto the lead, pulling out the victory.

Key Stats & Notes

  • Liberty is 7-0 for the first time in school history.
  • Liberty is the only team in the country with a 7-0 record.
  • Myo Baxter-Bell's 14 points moved ahead of Seth Curry on Liberty's all-time scoring list with 713 career points putting him at No. 44 on the scoring list.
  • Scottie James recorded his 23rd double-double of his career with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Liberty outscored Rice 32-16 inside the paint.
  • Liberty's frontcourt of Baxter-Bell (13 points) and James (14 points) combined for 27 points, outscoring Rice's starting frontcourt 27-12.
  • Baxter-Bell's 14 points was a season-high to go along with four rebounds.
  • Twenty-points for Rice in the first half was the second fewest points Rice has scored in a half this season.
  • Liberty shot 48 percent (26-54) from the field while holding Rice to 35 percent (20-57).
  • Kyle Rode recorded his second straight double-digit scoring game, scoring 14 points.  

Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay

"We have a special group that has a united pursuit in our school's mission of ‘Training Champions for Christ' but also to encourage each other. I do not think too much about starts to the seasons, but we just want to pursue in getting better and this team is improving on a regular basis. I thought we did some excellent things tonight and when you don't have guys like Caleb (Homesley), Marten (Maide) and Keegan (McDowell) this is huge for our guys to get here." 

Up Next

Liberty will face the winner of the East Carolina/UMKC matchup. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the Baha Mar Convention Center and can be seen on FloHoops.