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Liberty's Comeback Falls Short at North Florida

January 23, 2020  Jacksonville, Fla.  RSS
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Caleb Homesley scored 12 points in loss at North Florida.

Caleb Homesley scored 12 points in loss at North Florida.

Liberty dropped its first ASUN contest of the season, falling 71-70 on the road to North Florida. The Flames drop to 19-2 overall and are now tied for first place with North Florida (12-9) at 5-1 in conference.

Turning Point

For the first time in conference play, Liberty trailed at halftime (32-31) as North Florida was led by Ivan Gandia-Rosa's 14 points. Darius McGhee led the charge on offense for the Flames in the first half with 13 points, shooting 5-8 from the field. Liberty was efficient in the paint on offense, outscoring the Ospreys 22-12 inside the paint in the first half.

Liberty and North Florida went back-and-forth in the second half with 11 lead changes in the first nine minutes of the second half. North Florida took the lead and jumped out to a 67-58 lead with four and a half minutes left in the game, holding Liberty scoreless for over five and a half minutes midway through the half. With just over three minutes left in the game, North Florida led 70-60, and Liberty came all the way back to tie the game at 70-70. With one second left in the game, UNF's Garrett Sams made a free throw to come away with the victory.

Key Stats & Notes

  • This is Liberty's first loss when outshooting its opponent from the field.
  • Liberty shot 50 percent from the field (28-56) while North Florida shot 48 percent (28-52).
  • Liberty had four players score in double figures, led by Darius McGhee with 19 points.
  • McGhee tied his career high in points with 19 on Thursday night.
  • Scottie James' 10 points moved him up to No. 21 all-time on Liberty's scoring list with 1,174 career points, passing Antwan Burrus.
  • Liberty outscored North Florida 38-28 inside the paint.
  • North Florida made 10 three-pointers while holding Liberty to four.
  • All five of North Florida's starters scored in double figures led by Ivan Gandia-Rosa's 19 points.

Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay

"I felt like North Florida deserved to win. I feel like they played harder, and when you live on top of the standings, you're going to get the team's best shot and we certainly did tonight. I think there was some good things we did to finish the game, and I thought our guys were resilient."

Up Next

Liberty will close out its road trip on Saturday at Stetson. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.