Saturday’s win a near miss
Scrappy should not mean sloppy
A win is a win is a win. Right?
Sure, just like a car is a car is a lemon.
Saturday night’s men’s basketball game had all the luster of a rusty Pinto. A win, sure, but a win that was uglier than most of Bill Cosby’s sweaters. Bankrupt field goal shooting, a sale of pointless fouls and a “just good enough” defense against a bottom-feeding Gardner-Webb team hardly made the night a victory to celebrate.
After Thursday’s emotional overtime victory, the Flames took the court Saturday to thunderous applause. And clangs.
Liberty opened the night with guard Evan Gordon missing a three and John Brown missing the jumper off the rebound. More than 10 minutes into the first half, the Flames reached 15 points. The Bulldogs didn’t reach that mark until five minutes before halftime.
In a half that made the Flames look more like masons than basketball players, the team shot a meager 9-36 (25 percent) from the field in the first half, earning the head scratching of head coach Dale Layer.
“I’m concerned about everything under the moon and the sun about my team,” Layer said.
The only thing keeping the Flames in the game was the fact that Gardner-Webb’s offense was sputtering even more than Liberty’s.
At the half, the Bulldogs had yet to sink a three or a free throw.
Meanwhile, an officiating crew that whistled more than the seven dwarves on their way to work killed any chance Liberty had at sustaining brief glimpses of momentum.
Officials Dave Davis, Anthony Chiazza and Tim Haddix called Liberty for 22 personal fouls and Gardner-Webb for 17, making Liberty’s most consistent form of scoring shooting free throws.
The Bulldogs trips to the line, however, were ineffective. Their first made free throw came at the 12-minute mark in the second half.
Liberty travels to league-leading 11-0 Coastal Carolina next week for a rematch of the dogfight the Flames dropped earlier in the season.
The good news is that Brown finished Saturday one point shy of six straight double-doubles. Gordon, David Minaya and Jesse Sanders continued their average of double-digit scores. And Liberty is enjoying a five-game winning streak.
The bad news is sub-basement shooting like that which was on display against the Big South’s 2-9 team, will not be sufficient to try to off the best team in the league.
Was it a win? Yes. Was it ugly? You bet. Was it what Layer’s team needed for a tune-up for Coastal? Not even close.