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    Flames Snap Dolphins’ 21-Game Home Winning Streak, 66-52

    Jan 19, 2023 | Jacksonville Fla | Men's Basketball

    The Liberty Flames snapped the Jacksonville’s 21-game home winning streak, topping the Dolphins 66-52 at Swisher Gymnasium on Thursday evening.

    Liberty (15-5) wins its 15th game of the year and improves to 6-1 in the ASUN. The Flames are in a two-way tie for first place atop the league standings along with Kennesaw State (14-6, 6-1 ASUN).

    Jacksonville falls to 10-8 and 3-4 in the league. The Dolphins’ 21-game winning streak had been the third longest active streak in the nation entering the night.

    The Flames had four players reach double figures, led by a game-high 25 points from Darius McGhee. McGhee, the national leader in total three pointers and threes per game entering the night, knocked down five more triples. The redshirt senior moved into fourth place all-time in NCAA history for career three pointers, surpassing Duke’s J.J. Redick (457 threes, 2003-06). McGhee is up to 462 career makes from long distance.

    Redshirt senior Blake Preston (14 points, 10 rebounds) recorded his first double-double of the season and sixth of his career. Isiah Warfield matched a career high with 10 points. Senior Kyle Rode (10 points, six assists) moved into the top 10 in program history with career assists.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Darius McGhee 25 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals; Blake Preston 14 points, 10 rebounds; Kyle Rode 10 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Isiah Warfield 10 points, 4-8 FG, 2-3 3FG, 4 rebounds

    Jacksonville Individuals: Osayi Osifo 11 points, 4-6 FG, 6 rebounds; Mike Marsh 10 points, 5-8 FG; Kevion Nolan 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

    Key Team Stats: Liberty outrebounded Jacksonville 34-30 tonight, led by 10 boards from Blake Preston. JU entered the contest with a +4.0 rebounding margin. The Flames shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from the floor over the final 20 minutes and 40 percent (6-of-15) from deep. Liberty forced 12 JU turnovers and committed only eight in the game. Liberty is 14-2 on the season when turning it over less than its opponents.

    Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
    “I thought our guys had a great presence defensively. They showed a toughness in not just the physicality of the games, but overcoming mistakes and taking care of the ball and being patient enough to get a good shot. I thought Zay (Isiah Warfield) and Blake (Preston) were tremendous tonight. Big energy off the bench from Zay. Blake had one of his better games in his career. He was a force to be reckoned with. I’m happy about the win because Jacksonville’s really good.”

    Turning Point
    Liberty took a narrow five-point lead, 35-30, early in the second half and turned it into a 14-point advantage with a 13-4 run. At the tail end of the run, Isiah Warfield knocked down threes on back-to-back possessions at the 10:11 and 9:37 mark. Warfield’s second three put the Flames on top 48-34 and put him in double figures with 10 points.

    JU got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.

    Key Stats & Notes
    • Prior to tonight, Jacksonville’s last loss at home was a 71-69 setback to Lipscomb on Feb. 13, 2021.
    • Rode led all players with a game-high six assists. The Lexington, Ky. native moved into the top 10 in school history for career assists. He is 10th all-time by himself with 345 assists. He passed Greg McCauley (341 assists) to move into the top 10.
    • Preston’s double-double was the sixth of his career and first since totaling a career-high 18 points to go with 10 rebounds against FGCU last season (Feb. 23, 2022).
    • Warfield’s 10-point effort matched a career high. He scored 10 points against Columbia International as a freshman on Dec. 12, 2020. Warfield saw a season-high 28:55 of action, the second most of his career.
    • Liberty improves to 9-1 versus JU, including a 5-1 mark at Swisher Gymnasium.
    • The Flames’ six ASUN wins this year have been by an average of 22 points.

    Up Next
    The Flames will be back in action on Saturday at North Florida (8-11, 3-4 ASUN). Game time is 2 p.m. at UNF Arena and can be seen on ESPN+.

    Liberty is 6-4 all-time against UNF and 6-3 against the Ospreys since joining the ASUN. The two teams split a pair of meetings last year, with each squad winning on its home court.

    Main Photo at Top of Story: No. 32 Blake Preston