The Liberty Flames gets the signature victory it had been looking for in the non-conference portion of the schedule, knocking off UCLA 73-58. With the win, the Flames move to 11-4 on the season entering conference play.
The Flames went toe to toe all first half with the UCLA Bruins, as there were 5 lead changes and 6 ties in the first 20 minutes of action. UCLA dominated on the glass, 23-12 and led 2nd chance points 9-1.
A balanced scoring attack paced the way for the Flames led by Caleb Homesley’s 11 points. Lovell Cabbil added 7 first half points. UCLA struggled with turnovers, coughing it up 12 times in the first half. Liberty converted those into 15 points.
Despite struggling from downtown, shooting just 4/14 from 3, Liberty went into the halftime break with a 34-26 lead.
Early in the 2nd half, the Flames pushed the lead to 15 points as they seized control of the game. As you could expect, UCLA attempted to make a run at several different occasions in the 2nd half, twice cutting it to 6 points. Each time the Flames answered.
The first time the Bruins cut it to 6 with about 9 minutes left, freshman Darius McGhee answered with a huge 3 pointer in the corner which was followed by a Caleb Homesley bucket to quickly push the lead back to 11 at the under 8 media timeout.
On the 2nd occasion, UCLA cut it to 6, but Caleb Homesley answered with a 3 pointer before a Scottie James dunk to push it to 11 with 4:45 left in the game.
From there, the Flames would cruise to the final victory. Coach McKay scheduled 4 Power 5 opponents for the Flames this season, and his team finally responded with a win over a college basketball blue blood.
Homesley led the way with 21 points and also added 5 rebounds. Lovell Cabbil added 15 points. McGhee rounded out the double figure scorers with 11. James had 8 points and 7 rebounds despite struggling to a 3/11 field goal shooting performance.
The Flames shot 47% from the field compared to UCLA’s 39%.
UCLA had a season-high 24 turnovers compared to the Flames 8, the Flames outscored the Bruins 32-7 in points off turnovers.
The Bruins dominated the glass, winning that battle 44-27. 2nd chance points was 18-4 in UCLA’s favor.
Liberty opens conference play next Saturday at Florida Gulf Coast.