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    McGhee’s Record-Setting Night Lifts Flames to 75-56 Win Over Grambling State

    Dec 19, 2022 | Lynchburg Va | Men's Basketball

    Head Coach Ritchie McKay Press Conference

    Darius McGhee Press Conference
    Darius McGhee’s Record-Setting Ninth Three-Pointer

    Liberty’s Darius McGhee set a new program single-game record with nine three-pointers and scored a season-high 36 points to lead the Flames past visiting Grambling State 75-56, Monday evening.

    Liberty improves to 8-4 on the year and has won six of its last seven games. Meanwhile, Grambling State slips to 6-5 and has lost two straight.

    McGhee’s previous career high for threes was eight, which he had done two times prior. The redshirt senior hit the record-breaking ninth three in grand fashion with 3:24 to play in what turned out to be his fourth four-point play of the season and second in as many games.

    McGhee also made history by appearing in his program-record 144th game in a Flames uniform. He broke out of a tie with Caleb Homesley, who appeared in 143 career games.

    McGhee was 9-of-13 from three-point land this evening and 11-of-19 from the floor. He also matched a Liberty Arena record and tied his career high with five steals and grabbed five rebounds on the night. Additionally, the guard moved into third place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 2,137 career points. McGhee passed Bailey Alston (2,115 points) tonight and scored 28 of his 36 points in the second half.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Darius McGhee 36 points, 11-19 FG, 9-13 3FG (program record), 5 rebounds, 5 steals (tied Liberty Arena record), 1 assist; Joseph Venzant 8 points, 8 rebounds; Kyle Rode 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Colin Porter 6 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds

    Grambling State Individuals: Shawndarius Cowart 13 points, 6-9 FG, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; Cameron Christon 13 points, 4 rebounds; Carte’are Gordon 10 points, 5 rebounds

    Key Team Stats: Liberty outscored Grambling State 42-24 in the second half, shooting 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from three-point territory in the final 20 minutes. The Flames forced 17 turnovers from the Tigers while committing only eight themselves. Liberty scored 25 points off those Grambling turnovers. Liberty finished the night shooting 41.1 percent from the floor (23-of-56), while Grambling State was 24-of-51 (47.1 percent). The Flames converted on 75 percent (15-of-20) of their free throws, compared to only 38.5 percent (5-of-13) for the visitors. Liberty outrebounded GSU 36-33.

    Thoughts From Head Coach Ritchie McKay
    “We had a lot of respect coming into the game and even more so after the game for a really good, scrappy, tough Grambling team. Coach Donte (Jackson) has done a tremendous job with that group. They have a belief, and they have some parts that can really make it hard on your team.

    No. 2 (Darius McGhee), I just hope that no one takes for granted the opportunity to come watch him play. He’s a magnificent scorer, but he does so many little things for our team. I really thought our group’s second half response, or last 24 minutes, was terrific.”

    Turning Point
    Liberty trailed 32-20 with 3:02 to play in the first half following back-to-back turnovers and Tigers layups on the other end. The Flames closed the half on a 13-0 run to take a one-point lead (33-32) into the break. During that run, Liberty knocked down three triples, led by two from Colin Porter. Brody Peebles’ three with six seconds to go put Liberty on top for the first time leading 8-6.

    The GSU Tigers scored the first five points of the second frame to take a 37-33 lead with 19:07 left, but Liberty took over from that point on, outscoring Grambling 42-19 the rest of the way. McGhee Had 28 of those 42 points, doing so while going 9-of-11 from the floor, 7-of-8 from three-point territory and 3-of-3 from the foul line.

    Key Stats & Notes
    • With his nine three-pointers, Darius McGhee moved into 14th place all-time in NCAA Division I history with 424 career triples. He passed Akeem Richmond of East Carolina (2010-14), who had 416 career threes. After tonight’s effort, McGhee leads the country in three-point field goals made this season with 58.
    • McGhee has scored 20 or more points in 10 straight games, matching the best streak of his career. Last year, he ended the season with 10 games in a row with 20-plus points. This is McGhee’s eighth career 30-point game.
    • Prior to tonight, McGhee’s season high was 29 points at home against Southern Miss on Nov. 18. With 2,137 career points, he is 74 points away from Larry Blair, who is No. 2 in school history with 2,211 points.
    • McGhee had two games in his career with eight threes entering the evening. Larry Johnson (eight threes vs. Cal Poly, Nov. 29, 1996) and McGhee shared the record entering the night.
    • Joseph Venzant and Kyle Rode both pitched in eight points in the win. Venzant has scored exactly eight points in five straight games. He led the Flames with eight rebounds tonight as well.
    • Liberty freshmen Colin Porter and Zach Cleveland combined for 11 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and one steal.
    • The Flames improve to 6-1 at Liberty Arena on the season. In those six wins, Liberty is outscoring its opponents by an average of 33.3 points.
    • This was the first meeting between Liberty and Grambling.
    • This is the second straight game in which a big Flames second half led to a victory. Liberty trailed Bryant by a point at intermission on Saturday at the Hall of Fame Classic before coming back to win by 20, 82-62.

    Up Next
    Liberty will play its final game before Christmas when it hosts Mid-Atlantic Christian on Wednesday afternoon. The game will commence at Noon at Liberty Arena and can also be seen on ESPN+. This is the first meeting between the two programs.

    Main Photo at Top of Story: No. 2 Darius McGhee