Liberty Extends Winning Streak to Four, Downs VUL 101-49
Liberty extended its winning streak to four games, downing visiting Virginia University of Lynchburg 101-49 at Liberty Arena on Tuesday evening.
The Flames bolster their record to 6-3 this season after shooting a season-best 60 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, the VUL Dragons slip to 1-10 on the year and has lost its last eight contests. This is the second time this season the Flames have scored over 100 points at Liberty Arena.
Liberty’s Darius McGhee extended his streak of scoring 20 or more points to seven straight contests. McGhee finished the night with 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting and knocked down 6-of-6 free throws. Freshman point guard Colin Porter scored a career-high 14 points in the win.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Darius McGhee 21 points, 6-9 FG, 6-6 FT, 4 assists; Brody Peebles 16 points, 7-11 FG; Colin Porter 14 points, 4-6 3FG, 4 assists; Kyle Rode 11 points, 3-6 3 FG; Shiloh Robinson 9 points, 4-5 FG, 5 assists; Jonathan Jackson 9 points, 3-3 3 FG
Virginia University of Lynchburg Individuals: Marcus Willis 25 points, 9-16 FG, 3-6 3 FG, 4-5 FT
Key Team Stats: Liberty shot 60 percent (33-of-55) from the floor and made a season-high 17 three-pointers on 32 attempts (53.1 percent). This is the first time the Flames have shot 60 percent in a game since shooting 61.9 percent from the floor in an 88-49 win over Jacksonville a season ago (Jan. 18, 2022). A total of 12 Flames scored in the contest. Liberty finished the night with 24 assists on 33 made baskets, its second highest assist output of the season. The Flames defense held VUL to 27.6 percent shooting (8-of-29) in the second half and 35.2 percent for the night. This is the third time this year Liberty has held an opponent under 50 points. The Dragons turned the ball over 18 times, while the Flames had eight turnovers on the night.
Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“We’re happy with our guys’ performance. I thought that was a difficult game given the circumstances. We’re thankful for Virginia University of Lynchburg to play the game. That was a quick turnaround. Not only did we not have any time to prep, but neither did that. I just appreciate that we had an opportunity to play in front of our fans, and I’m certainly grateful that they came out to support our group.”
Senior Kyle Rode scored all 11 of his points in the game’s first 4:28, helping Liberty get out to an early 15-9 edge. Leading 22-15 midway through the opening half, the Flames used a 21-4 run to take command of the game and build a 43-19 lead. Liberty led 48-23 at the break, paced by Rode and Darius McGhee with 11 points.
The Flames’ biggest run in the second half was a 22-0 run that took a 21-point lead (58-37) and made it a 43-point game (80-37). McGhee opened the outburst with a pair of free throws and capped it off with a three-pointer at the 7:45 mark to put him at 21 points for the evening.
Key Stats & Notes
• This is the fourth time the Flames have scored 100 or more points at Liberty Arena and second time this year. Liberty topped Regent 104-38 in the season opener, Nov. 7.
• Sophomore Brody Peebles scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Peebles has scored in double figures seven times already this season after scoring 10 or more points seven times all of last year. The guard from Hartselle, Ala. is the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.1 ppg.
• McGhee’s 21-point effort tonight vaulted him from No. 9 to No. 7 in ASUN history with 2,055 career points.
• McGhee has seven games in a row of 20 or more points at present. The longest streak of his career is 10 games, which he achieved in the final 10 games of the 2021-22 campaign.
• Colin Porter’s career-high 14 points came on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point land. The freshman also made both of his free throws. Porter’s four triples are also a career best.
• Liberty outrebounded VUL 32-28 and held advantages in points off turnovers (25-8), points in the paint (32-20), second chance points (13-6) and fast break points (13-4). The Flames’ bench also pitched in 38 points, while the Dragons’ bench only chipped in three total points.
• Senior Shiloh Robinson took sole possession of 50th place on the program’s all-time career rebounding list. Robinson has 332 career rebounds.
• Junior guard Jonathan Jackson was 3-of-3 on his three-point attempts. His three makes matched a career high. Redshirt junior Gabriel McKay scored six points on 2-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. McKay’s six points are the most he’s scored in a Liberty uniform.
• Liberty’s last four-game winning streak prior to now came last season from Jan. 31-Feb. 8 in ASUN play. The Flames are shooting 50.2 percent from the floor during the current streak and hitting threes at a 44.5 percent clip. McGhee is shooting 53.6 percent from the floor and 48.7 percent from three (19-of-39) while averaging 21.8 ppg over the last four contests.
• The Flames were originally scheduled to play Clarks Summit tonight, but that game was cancelled last evening. Today’s matchup between Liberty and VUL was the first-ever contest between the two programs.
The Flames will face the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (6-3), next Monday evening. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Eastern at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Main Photo at Top of Story: No. 23 Joseph Venzant