The Liberty Flames improve to 6-1 on the season after winning its 3rd straight, knocking off Navy 76-58.
Liberty and Navy went back and forth over the majority of the first half with neither team able to get much traction on offense. That all changed when Darius McGhee got going. The reigning ASUN newcomer of the week got hot from downtown as he connected on 4-of-7 first half triples to lead the way with 15 points. He helped spark a late Liberty surge that put the Flames ahead 35-23 at the break.
The Flames led despite Elijah Cuffee being held scoreless after only playing 5 minutes due to picking up 2 early fouls. Also, Lovell Cabbil had just 1 point in the first stanza. Scottie James was the team’s early go to weapon as he scored on the first two possessions of the game. He had 8 points and 5 rebounds in the half. Keenan Gumbs had a solid first half performance as well, recording 7 points.
The Midshipmen were held to just 34% shooting in the first half and only 1-of-11 from 3.
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz got the Flames going in the 2nd half with a 3 pointer on the first possession of the half. Pacheco scored Liberty’s first 8 points of the 2nd half as he reached double figures for the night. Navy attempted to make a run repeatedly during the 2nd half, cutting Liberty’s lead to as low as 9, most recently at the 5 minute mark.
Darius McGhee responded with a step back 3 pointer to end the Navy run. That 3 pointer sparked a 7-0 Liberty run to push the Flames lead back to 16 with just over 3 minutes to play. The Midshipmen would not make another run.
Myo Baxter-Bell has been playing very well all season, he may be the team’s most improved player from a season ago. The Liberty big man is smooth when handling the ball in the paint. He had some very productive minutes.
Navy struggled from 3 all night, finishing 4-for-24 (17%).
Four Flames reached double figures, led by McGhee’s career-high 18. Keenan Gumbs added 12 while Scottie James added 14 points and 7 rebounds. Pacheco-Ortiz chipped in 10.
The Flames got it done from the free throw line, shooting 15-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Liberty had 15 assists to just 6 turnovers.
Liberty returns home for its biggest non-conference challenge at home this season as the Georgia State Panthers pay a visit. Ron Hunter’s squad is 5-2 on the season, including an impressive, 91-67, rout of Georgia.