Flames Turn in Dominant Performance, Down Bisons 77-48 in ASUN Home Opener
Head Coach Ritchie McKay Press Conference
Brody Peebles and Blake Preston Press Conference
Liberty turned in a dominant performance on both ends of the floor, leading to a 77-48 victory over the Lipscomb Bisons at Liberty Arena.
The Flames have won five straight games and are 9-1 in their last 10 games. Liberty improves to 11-4 overall and stays unbeaten in ASUN play at 2-0. The Flames are 5-0 all-time in ASUN home openers. Meanwhile, Lipscomb slips to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The Flames held an opponent under 50 points for the fourth time this season and forced 16 Bisons turnovers. Lipscomb, who entered the game averaging 77.9 points per game, was held nearly 30 points below its season average and shot only 37 percent from the floor for the game (17-of-46). Liberty shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) from the field and knocked down 12 threes.
Liberty featured four players in double figures, led by 19 points from Darius McGhee. Brody Peebles knocked down five threes for 15 points, while Kyle Rode (13 points) and Shiloh Robinson (10 points) each finished in double digits as well.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Darius McGhee 19 points, 5-12 3FG, 2 steals; Brody Peebles 15 points, 5-9 3FG; Kyle Rode 13 points, 5-9 FG, 3 assists; Shiloh Robinson 10 points, 6 rebounds
Lipscomb Individuals: Quincy Clark 12 points, 5-8 FG; Trae Benham 8 points, 2 steals
Key Team Stats: Liberty committed nine turnovers and has turned it over less than 10 times in four of its last five games. Meanwhile, the Flames turned 16 Bisons turnovers into 17 points on the other end. Liberty shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the floor in the second half and 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from three-point territory. The Flames (16 assists) had five players with multiple assists, led by Colin Porter with four.
Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“When we take care of the ball and are selfless, we usually get a good shot. I thought we were pretty connected defensively. I told our guys there’s not many locker rooms like we have. They have a willingness to sacrifice what they want for what the team needs. They are willing to give of themselves what the team needs as opposed to what they feel like giving. I think that’s rare. I think it’s foundational. I think the guys that have gone before them – the Kemrites, the Cabbils, the Homesleys, the Baxter-Bell’s, the James’ and many others – were in that same vain.”
Leading 13-9 through the opening seven-plus minutes, Liberty outscored Lipscomb 20-9 the remainder of the half to take a commanding 33-18 advantage at intermission.
The Bisons scored the first five points of the second stanza to trim the Flames’ lead to 10 (33-23), but a 9-1 Liberty run put the hosts ahead by 18, 42-24, with 15:00 on the clock. Blake Preston and Kyle Rode each chipped in four points during that spurt, with Rode’s bucket in the paint making it an 18-point edge. Liberty continued growing the lead down the stretch, with eight Flames scoring in the second half. Peebles knocked down four of his five threes after the break, with his three from the left corner putting the Flames on top 63-38 with 7:43 remaining. Less than a minute later (6:51 mark), Rode buried another triple, Liberty’s 10th of the game, from the same corner for a 66-38 edge.
Key Stats & Notes
• This is Liberty’s largest margin of victory ever over Lipscomb (29 points). The Flames’ previous biggest win versus the Bisons was 16 points on two occasions.
• Darius McGhee, who came into the contest leading the nation in total threes (70) and three-pointers per game (5.00), hit five more threes tonight to give him 75 on the season and 441 for his career. He ranks No. 8 in NCAA Division I history in the category. The redshirt senior guard has knocked down at least three triples in 13 straight games.
• Coming off the bench for the first time this year, Shiloh Robinson scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and matched a season high with six rebounds. Freshman point guard Colin Porter grabbed a career-high six boards.
• Blake Preston started for the Flames tonight, his first start since Jan. 27, 2022 against North Alabama. The big man from Charlotte, N.C. had four point, four rebounds, two assists and a steal and was a plus-16 in 15:12 of action.
• The Flames improve to 8-5 all-time versus the Bisons and 8-3 since joining the ASUN. Liberty has won four straight meetings with Lipscomb.
• Liberty’s 18 points allowed in the first half was its third fewest surrendered in a half this season. The Flames surrendered 17 points to Bradley in the first half in the Cancun Challenge (Nov. 23) and the same amount to Regent in the season opener at Liberty Arena, Nov. 7.
• Liberty has not trailed in any of its last three games. The Flames led for 39:44 of the 40 minutes tonight (tied for 16 seconds).
The Flames will host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (7-8, 0-2 ASUN) in conference play, Thursday evening. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Liberty Arena and can be seen on ESPN+.
JSU knocked off Liberty 77-67 at Liberty Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two squads last season (Jan. 29, 2022). The loss snapped the Flames’ 45-game home winning streak.