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    Liberty Opens 2022-23 Season With 104-38 Home Win Over Regent

    Nov 7, 2022 | Lynchburg Va | Men's Basketball

    Head Coach Ritchie McKay Press Conference
    Blake Preston and Brody Peebles Press Conference

    Liberty started the new season with a 104-38 home win over visiting Regent, Monday evening at Liberty Arena.

    The Flames (1-0) improve to 10-0 in home openers under head coach Ritchie McKay and 3-0 all-time in home openers held at Liberty Arena.

    Liberty’s Darius McGhee became the winningest individual player in program history with tonight’s result. The guard from Roxboro, N.C. earned his 105th career win, breaking out of a tie with Elijah Cuffee (104 wins). Meanwhile, Liberty Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ritchie McKay picked up his 200th all-time victory with the Flames. In his 10th season with Liberty, McKay is 200-104 for a .658 winning percentage.

    Five Liberty players scored in double figures, led by 17 points apiece from McGhee and Brody Peebles. Blake Preston (16 points), Joseph Venzant (11 points, seven rebounds) and freshman Zach Cleveland (11 points, three blocks) reached double digits as well. All 13 Flames tonight entered the scoring column.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Darius McGhee 17 points, 5 assists, 5-8 3FG; Brody Peebles 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7-10 FG; Zach Cleveland 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks; Joseph Venzant 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5-5 FG; Colin Porter 5 points, 8 assists, 5 steals (matched Liberty Arena record)

    Regent Individuals: Andrew Walston 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4-6 3FG

    Key Team Stats: Liberty shot 53.7 percent (36-of-67) for the game. The Flames held Regent to 19.6 percent shooting (10-of-51). Liberty had 10 steals in the game, led by five from freshman Colin Porter. Porter’s five steals matched a Liberty Arena record. The Flames’ bench outscored the Royals’ bench 60-2. Liberty knocked down 20-of-24 free throw attempts (83.3 percent).

    Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
    “I’m happy with the first game jitters and the way we seemingly got through it. I think our guys have been anxious to play someone other than themselves. We had a great student support tonight. I really felt like they gave our guys a lot of energy.”

    Turning Point
    Liberty closed the first half on a 24-0 run over the final 8:24 of the opening half to take a commanding 55-17 lead into the break. Nine different Flames scored during that span, led by Preston with six points.

    Key Stats & Notes
    • Zach Cleveland, Colin Porter and Bryson Spell made their collegiate debuts, while Gabriel McKay made his Liberty debut. Cleveland stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and a game-high three blocks. Porter dished out a game-best eight assists and tied the Liberty Arena record with five steals while scoring five points. McKay buried a three-pointer 2:27 remaining in the game. Spell knocked down a free throw with 4:19 left in the first half for his first career point.
    • McGhee’s 17-point effort bumps his career total to 1,881 points. The redshirt senior hit five three-pointers, and he has knocked down at least three triples in 17 straight games.
    • Liberty outrebounded Regent 47-29. All 13 active Flames grabbed at least one rebound in the contest.
    • The Flames’ last 100-plus point game prior to this evening came on Feb. 26, 2022 at Liberty Arena, a 100-92 overtime ASUN win over Kennesaw State.
    • Liberty improves to 41-10 all-time in home openers and 29-22 all-time in season openers.
    • Tonight’s attendance of 3,885 was the third biggest crowd in Liberty Arena history.

    Up Next
    Liberty will be back in action on Friday evening at No. 19 Alabama. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Eastern and can be seen on SEC Network+.