The Liberty Flames make a statement with an impressive 78-52 win over Georgia State to move to 7-1 on the season.
Scottie James was dominant in the opening minutes of the game, as he hauled in 7 rebounds, scored 4 points, and drew 3 fouls before the first media timeout. The pack-line defense was locked in early as Liberty held Georgia State to just 25% from the field in the first 10 minutes of the first half.
Elijah Cuffee got the early assignment on Georgia State’s leading scorer D’Marcus Simonds. Simonds, who entered the game averaging over 21 points per game, was just 2/8 from the field to begin the game. Cuffee was also solid on offense, knocking down his first two 3 point attempts as the Flames jumped out to an early 17-9 lead. Liberty began the game connecting on 6-of-8 three pointers while the Panthers missed their first 6 shots from deep.
Like all good teams do, Georgia State responded with a 7-0 run to cut the Flames’ lead to 2 while Liberty went over 4 minutes without a point. The Panthers then scored 6 straight to tie the game at 24. Cuffee then responded with 8 straight points of his own to give the Flames a 32-29 lead going into the break. Cuffee led the Flames with 14 first half points as he connected on all 4 of his three point shots.
Just like he did against Navy last time out, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz started the 2nd half by getting going offensively. He knocked down back-to-back 3 pointers to start the half as Liberty’s lead grew to 16 early minutes of the 2nd half.
Both teams struggled to put points on the board for a long stretch during the middle part of the half. Georgia State went a stretch of nearly 7 minutes without a field goal while the Flames went 8 minutes without scoring. Liberty escaped these cold spells with a 14 point lead at 55-41 with 7:53 to play.
Eljah Cuffee knocked down his career best 5th 3 pointer to push Liberty’s lead to 19, as he also had 19 points, a career high. It was then Caleb Homesley’s turn as he scored 10 straight points to push the Flames lead to 70-49 with 2:46 to play. The Flames would cruise to the final in the closing minutes.
Georgia State entered the game averaging 75 points per game, the Flames held them to 52 points on 40% shooting and just 2-for-16 from 3 (12.5%) from 3.
Scottie James finished with a career-high 17 rebounds. He also drew 7 fouls and score 8 points on only 2 field goal attempts.
Elijah Cuffee finished with a career high 19 points while also adding 5 assists.
Caleb Homesley had 19 points.
The Flames shot 51.9% from the field and 52% from 3.
D’Marcus Simonds finished with a game high 22 points.
Liberty has a quick turnaround and will head to Washington, D.C. to take on Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas on Monday evening.