Coming on the heels of the program’s first 3 game losing streak this season and first 3 straight Big South Conference setbacks since February 2016, Liberty’s left asking questions as to how this has happened and how it can be corrected moving forward.
The Flames currently sit at 3-4 in conference play, after losing just 4 Big South games all last season. In each of the 4 losses, Liberty went into the halftime break with a lead, before succumbing in the 2nd half. The team’s performance in the first half compared to the 2nd has been night and day during the current 3 game losing streak.
The Packline defense has been operating at its finest in the opening stanza, holding each of the previous 3 opponents to 21 points on 34.33% shooting from the field and 28% shooting from 3 while only letting the opponent attempt 4 free throws.
Compare those numbers to the 2nd half of the last 3 games, where Liberty is allowing 39.3 points and its opponents are shooting 55.88% from the field and 53.85% from 3 while attempting nearly 14 free throws.
The numbers in the conference opening loss at Gardner-Webb are similar to these.
The Flames shooting percentages on offense has also suffered after the halftime break. Liberty is shooting 48% from the field and nearly 35% from 3 in the first half of the previous 3 games. In the 2nd half, those numbers drop to 32.84% from the field and 26.92% from 3.
Why? That’s the question left to Coach Ritchie McKay and his staff to try to figure out. Is it youth? A lack of focus? A lack of effort?
With 11 regular season games remaining, the team still has plenty of time to rebound and make this season a special one, but there’s no more time to waste if it wants to reach its lofty expectations.