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Liberty's Defense Stifles NJIT in Second ASUN Victory

January 4, 2020  Newark, N.J.  RSS
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Caleb Homesley scored 20 points against NJIT.

Caleb Homesley scored 20 points against NJIT.

Liberty improved to 2-0 in the ASUN Conference after an impressive defensive performance, defeating NJIT 65-38. The Flames improved to 16-1 as they held NJIT to a season-low 38 points.

Turning Point

It was a struggle on offense for both teams to start the game as the two teams combined to shoot 4-20 in each of their first 10 shots of the game. Liberty trailed 11-6 and responded with a 13-0 run to jump out to a 17-11 lead. Liberty would hold NJIT scoreless for the last 4:57 of the first half to go into the break with a 29-18 lead. In the second half, Liberty was lethal from the three-point range shooting 75 percent in the first 10 minutes of the half, jumping out to a 51-26 lead midway through the second half. Liberty would continue to frustrate NJIT on offense throughout the entire game, holding the Highlanders to just 23.5 percent (12-51), the lowest percentage Liberty has allowed to a Division I opponent this season.

Key Stats & Notes

  • Thirty-eight points is the fewest Liberty has allowed an opponent to score this season.
  • This is the second time Liberty has held an opponent to under 40 points.
  • Liberty is the first team in the country to reach 16 wins.
  • Liberty held NJIT to 18 points in the first half, the eighth time this season Liberty has held an opponent to 20 points or under in a half.
  • Eighteen points was the second fewest points NJIT has scored in a half this season.
  • Caleb Homesley moved into No. 17 on Liberty's all-time scoring list with 1,246 career points.
  • Homesley scored a game-high 20 points.
  • Liberty's bench outscored NJIT's bench 22-6 led by Kyle Rode's 10 points.
  • Scottie James grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
  • Zach Cooks went into the game ranked No. 7 in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.2 points per game and Liberty held Cooks to a season-low three points.
  • Cooks' three points was the first time he has been held to single-digits this season.
  • Liberty outscored NJIT 32-12 inside the paint.

Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay

"Coming out of the first timeout of the game I thought we really imposed our defensive will and get the victory. We had a great turnout, Flames Nation was terrific and I say this will all humility that our guys deserve a following because they are such good representatives of our university."

Up Next

Liberty will return home for its first game at the Vines Center since Dec. 2 as they host North Alabama on Thursday, Jan. 9. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center and can be seen on ESPN+.