Liberty Knocks Down Season-High 20 Threes, Wins 88-50 Over MACU
Head Coach Ritchie McKay Press Conference
Liberty knocked down a season-high 20 three-pointers in its final non-conference game and final game before Christmas, winning 88-50 over visiting Mid-Atlantic Christian at Liberty Arena.
Liberty finishes its non-conference portion of the schedule with a 9-4 record. The Flames are 7-1 over their last eight contests. Liberty will open ASUN Conference play in eight days (Dec. 29) at Bellarmine. MACU’s record remains at 4-5. The Mustangs counted today’s game as an exhibition.
Jonathan Jackson had a career day, drilling seven three-pointers and scoring a career-high 23 points. Liberty’s 20 threes are the second most in a game in school, behind only the 21 the Flames made against Delaware State last season (Dec. 6, 2021). The Flames also matched a season high with 27 assists, led by five apiece from freshman Zach Cleveland and senior Kyle Rode.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Jonathan Jackson 23 points, 8-10 FG, 7-9 3FG; Brody Peebles 16 points, 4-7 3FG, 4 assists; Darius McGhee 14 points, 5-10 FG, 4-9 3FG; Zach Cleveland 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks
Mid-Atlantic Christian Individuals: Micah Colburn 13 points, 5-10 FG, 3 rebounds; Noah Richardson-Keys 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Key Team Stats: Liberty matched a season best with 27 assists, a feat the Flames also accomplished in the season opener against Richmond. The Flames shot 54.1 percent (33-of-61) from the floor and 47.6 percent (20-of-42) from three-point territory. Liberty held MACU to 35.3 percent shooting (18-of-51) for the afternoon and forced 15 Mustang turnovers. The Flames’ bench scored 55 points, led by 23 from Jackson and 16 from Brody Peebles. The Mustangs had 14 bench points. Liberty scored 21 points off turnovers, compared to 10 for MACU.
Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“I thought it was good to get minutes for some of those guys that serve so mightily on a daily basis in practice. I’m happy for JJ (Jonathan Jackson). We see it more on the regular him knocking down threes. I felt like given the time of the year, it was a mature victory for our guys.”
Leading 9-7 in the early going, Liberty used a 22-6 run to build a 31-13 lead with 8:21 to play in the opening half. Jonathan Jackson knocked down his first two threes of the game during that spurt.
The Flames also closed the half on a 10-1 run to take a commanding 47-21 advantage into the locker room. Brody Peebles scored five points during that run, and Jackson buried a three from the right corner with seven seconds left on the first half clock. Jackson surpassed his previous career high (11 points) with 12 points by halftime.
Key Stats & Notes
• Prior to today’s 23-point outburst, Jonathan Jackson’s previous career high was 11 points, set last season against Boyce. Jackson’s seven threes are also a new career best. He had hit three triples two times in a game prior to this afternoon.
• The Flames entered the game averaging 11.7 three-pointers per game, fourth best in the nation, and knocked down 20. Liberty’s previous season high was 17, set against Virginia University of Lynchburg on Dec. 6.
• All 12 players who saw minutes today scored at least two points.
• McGhee, who entered the day with a nation-best 58 threes, added four more to his season total. The redshirt senior guard is up to 428 career makes from long distance, the 14th most in NCAA Division I history.
• McGhee is up to 2,151 career points. He is 60 points away from tying Larry Blair (2,211 career points) for second place and 222 career points from the program record (2,373 points), held by Karl Hess.
• Liberty outrebounded Mid-Atlantic Christian 36-27, led by a season-high and career-high seven rebounds from Zach Cleveland. Shiloh Robinson matched a season best with six boards.
• Jackson a junior from Overland Park, Kan. is connecting on 52.4 percent (11-of-21) of his three-point attempts on the year.
• Peebles tied a career high with four assists today. With his 16-point game, he now has nine games in double figures this season and 16 for his career. Stephen Burggraf matched a career high with three rebounds and added two points and two assists.
• Liberty finishes its non-conference home slate with a 7-1 record. In the seven wins, the Flames outscored their foes by an average of 34 points per game.
• This was the first matchup between Liberty and MACU.
Liberty will return to action after Christmas with its ASUN Conference opener at Bellarmine (5-7), Dec. 29. Tip time is 7:30 p.m. Eastern at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky.
The Flames are 2-1 all-time against the Knights. This will be Bellarmine’s third season in the ASUN.
Main Photo at Top of Story: No. 11 Jonathan Jackson