Liberty Advances to ASUN Semifinals, Defeats Lipscomb
It was a nail-biter all throughout Thursday night’s ASUN Quarterfinals contest between Liberty and Lipscomb as the largest lead in the game was eight points. But in the end Liberty was able to come out on top, defeating Lipscomb 52-47 at Liberty Arena. Liberty advances to the ASUN Semifinals and will host Bellarmine on March 5 at Liberty Arena. The Flames improve to 22-10 on the year and 13-2 at home.
Both teams struggled on offense to open the game, combining to shoot 2-10 in the first four minutes of the contest. The Flames held the lead for a majority of the first half, but a tight ball game throughout the half Lipscomb was able to take its first lead of the game (22-21) with just under three minutes left in the half. Liberty would go cold on offense to close out the half, going scoreless for over six minutes as Lipscomb went into halftime with a 24-23 lead. Liberty’s Darius McGhee led all scorers with 14 points.
Lipscomb and Liberty went back-and-forth with six lead changes in the first 12 minutes of the half. Liberty took the lead at the 5:31-mark off a Kyle Rode layup, making it 44-43, and the Flames would never relinquish the lead, holding Lipscomb to four points in the final six and a half minutes of the game. McGhee (12 points) and Keegan McDowell (seven points) led the way for Liberty’s offense in the second half scoring 19 of Liberty’s 29 second half points.
Key Stats & Notes
- Darius McGhee scored 26 points recording his 9th straight 20-point game., tying the Division I program record for most consecutive 20-point games set by Bailey Alston.
- McGhee has now won 104 career games, tying Elijah Cuffee’s program record.
- This was Liberty’s first win the season when the opponent has outshot Liberty.
- Liberty shot 29 percent from the field while Lipscomb shot 32.8 percent.
- Keegan McDowell scored 10 points.
- Kyle Rode filled the stat sheet with six points, six assists and eight rebounds.
- Lipscomb’s 47 points was the fewest points Liberty has allowed in an ASUN Tournament game.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“It is tournament time. That was really hard-fought, I have a lot of respect for Coach Acuff and their program. They do it the right way and they had a great scheme and gameplan and I do not care how old you are, how many games you have been in during tournament play, the first one is always really hard because you realize the significance of it. I was proud of our group, we didn’t play as efficiently as we had been on the offensive end but we found a way to pull one out.”
Liberty will now host Bellarmine on Saturday, March 5, in the ASUN Semifinals. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.