The Liberty Flames made a statement with an impressive 81-63 win on the road at Florida Gulf Coast to open ASUN play 1-0.
On the first possession of the game, Liberty’s first ever in ASUN play, Scottie James got the ball on the block and made a nasty spin move that ended in a sick dunk to give the Flames the early 2-0 lead. Liberty’s strong play to open the game continued as the Flames scored the first 7 points of the game and raced out to an early 14-2 lead thanks to 5 early offensive rebounds.
The Flames led throughout the first half, by as many as 12, and went into the halftime break with a 36-30 lead. Liberty controlled the game on the glass, out-rebounding the Eagles 17-11 while also holding a 28-20 advantage in field goal attempts. FGCU was able to get the free throw line 5 more times than the Flames in the first half to keep the game close.
Both teams came out of the locker room scorching from the field. The Eagles made 6 of their first 9 shots in the opening minutes of the 2nd half as they continually cut the Liberty lead to 2. Each time they did, the Flames would find an answer to maintain the lead.
Consecutive three-pointers by Lovell Cabbil, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, and Elijah Cuffee pushed Liberty’s lead to its highest of the game at 13 with 10:32 to play as FGCU head coach Michael Fly was forced to call a timeout to try to slow down the Flames. That helped spark a 16-2 run by Liberty as the Flames pushed the lead to 18 at 70-52 with 8 minutes left.
Liberty would coast the rest of the way, en route to an 81-63 final margin.
Darius McGhee paced the way with 18 points on 6/8 shooting from 3. Caleb Homesley, Scottie James, Lovell Cabbil, and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz all reached double figures as well. Homesley and James each had 12 while Cabbil and Pacheco added 10.
Liberty connected on 14-of-28 three pointers while dominating in points off turnovers, 21-2. The Flames also controlled the way in bench points, 29-9.
Liberty continues its trek across the Sunshine State, as the Flames move to DeLand to face Stetson on Wednesday at 9pm. The Hatters are 4-11 on the season and will open conference play against the Flames.