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    EKU Snaps Liberty’s 6-Game Winning Streak, 62-59

    Jan 8, 2023 | Richmond Ky | Men's Basketball

    Eastern Kentucky snapped Liberty’s six-game winning streak, holding on for a 62-59 victory over the Flames at Baptist Health Arena on Sunday afternoon.

    Liberty (12-5, 3-1 ASUN) suffers its first loss in ASUN play and its first setback since falling at Oral Roberts, Dec. 12. Meanwhile, the Colonels (10-7) pick up their 10th win of the year and improve to 3-1 in league play.

    EKU saw an 11-point lead (59-48) with 7:24 to play trimmed down to three (60-57) by the Flames with 1:29 to go. Liberty had two different opportunities to tie it with under a minute to play but could not convert on a pair of three point attempts.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Brody Peebles 13 points, 5-10 FG, 4 rebounds; Colin Porter 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals; Blake Preston 9 points, 4-4 FG, 6 rebounds; Kyle Rode 9 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds

    Eastern Kentucky Individuals: Devontae Blanton 16 points, 6-10 FG, 8 rebounds, 4 assists; Cooper Robb 15 points, 5-7 FG, 5 rebounds

    Key Team Stats: Liberty shot 39 percent (23-of-59) from the floor for the game, and EKU was 23-of-54 (42.6 percent). The Flames, who came into the contest leading the nation in three-pointers per game (12.3) made a season-low four three threes and were 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) from long distance. Conversely, the Colonels knocked down 10-of-22 attempts (45.5 percent) from three-point territory. Liberty outrebounded EKU 36-35, led by six boards from Blake Preston. The Flames scored 18 points off 13 EKU turnovers, while EKU scored 12 points off 11 Flames turnovers. This is only the second time this season Liberty has lost a game in which it turned the ball over less than its counterpart. The Flames are 11-2 when turning it over fewer times.

    Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
    “I’m proud of our guys’ effort. They threw us a couple of haymakers, and our guys responded. It was not as clean in our execution, but Eastern Kentucky had a lot to do with that. I think it’s hard to win on the road, and I like the looks we had.”

    Turning Point
    With the game tied 46-46 with 11:01 to go, Eastern Kentucky went on an 11-0 run, doing so in only 2:04. The Colonels buried three consecutive threes, with Turner Buttry hitting two in a row, followed by a triple from Blanton. Leland Walker finished off the run with a pull up jumper at the 8:57 mark for a 57-46 lead for the hosts.

    Liberty chipped away at the lead, getting within three on two occasions in the final 90 seconds. Shiloh Robinson’s steal and three-point play at the 1:29 mark trimmed the EKU lead to 60-57. Brody Peebles (48 seconds left) and Jonathan Jackson (as time expired had looks from three-point distance to even the contest up but could not convert.

    Key Stats & Notes
    • Brody Peebles paced the Flames in scoring with 13 points, doing so on 5-of-10 shooting. Peebles, who saw a season high in minutes (27:09), has scored in double figures 12 times this season.
    • Playing in his home state of Kentucky, freshman Colin Porter tallied his second-highest scoring output of the season with 12 points. The Ashland, Ky. native added three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29:48 of action.
    • Liberty trailed by eight, 43-35, with 15:25 left but went on a 9-0 run over the next 3:09 to take a 44-43 lead. This turned out to be the Flames’ final lead of the game.
    • Liberty trailed 30-29 at the half. It was the Flames’ first time trailing at the break since being down by a point, 33-32, against Bryant on Dec. 17 at the Hall of Fame Classic.
    • With EKU’s win, the all-time series between the Flames and Colonels is evened up at 3-3 and 1-1 in ASUN play.
    • This is Liberty’s first ASUN regular season loss since falling at home to FGCU, 82-72 in overtime, on Feb. 23, 2022

    Up Next
    The Flames will return home to face North Alabama (9-8, 1-3 ASUN), Thursday evening at Liberty Arena. Tip time is 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.

    Liberty is 8-0 all-time against the UNA Lions, with all of those victories coming in ASUN Conference play. The Flames topped the Lions 72-53 last year (Jan. 27, 2022) at Liberty Arena in the last meeting.