The Liberty Flames remain unbeaten at home, moving to 10-0, and in the ASUN, moving to 6-0, with a 72-47 win over North Alabama Monday night. It’s the first time in school history Liberty has started 6-0 in conference play.
North Alabama started the game scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the game as Liberty jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead. Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz opened the scoring for the Flames with a 3 pointer on the team’s first possession. We wrote about his efficiency and how he’s the perfect point guard in McKay’s system in the game preview for this one, in case you missed it.
Liberty led by as many as 8 early before getting sloppy with the ball and turning it over on often. The Flames had 7 turnovers in the first 12 plus minutes of the game as the Lions went on a 9-0 run to take a 2 point lead at 17-15 with just over 5 minutes left in the first half.
The Flames would respond with an 11-2 run to close the half, taking a 26-19 lead into the locker room. Liberty held North Alabama to 26.9% field goal shooting and paced the way in points off turnovers, 14-3. After struggling from 3 Saturday night against North Florida, the Flames were just 2-for-13 in the opening 20 minutes tonight.
Scottie James struggled in the first half, missing his 4 field goal attempts as he entered the halftime break scoreless. James, who was leading the ASUN in field goal percentage at 70.5% this season, fell to the floor awkwardly, immediately grabbed his left knee and looked to be in a great deal of pain. After returning to the bench and being checked briefly by trainer Aaron Schreiner, James did return to the lineup in the first half.
Liberty opened the 2nd half scoring 12 points in less than 5 minutes, pushing the lead to as much as 15. The Flames would continue their hot play, sparked by Caleb Homesley who scored 8 points in the first 6+ minutes of the 2nd half. Liberty connected on all 8 of their field goals to open the period, pushing the lead to 46-27 with 12:46 left in the game. Homesley finished the game with 15 points and 9 rebounds.
The Flames would maintain that margin most of the half, leading by as many as 25 which was the final margin, as the final 10 minutes were mainly just academic. Lovell Cabbil had just 3 points in the first half, but he would finish the game with 20 points on just 6 field goal attempts.
“I thought our guys did a really good job in the 2nd half of taking what the defense was giving us,” McKay said of his team’s performance. “We were more patient, and I thought that led to some better looks and some better finishes offensively. We took a step defensively tonight, we were hard to play against for most of the game.”
Liberty shot 73.7% from the floor in the 2nd half.
The Lions were held to 32% field goal shooting and 14% from 3 for the game.
McGhee was 0-for-5 from 3, but he did grab 8 rebounds.
The Flames have a few days off before hitting the road again this weekend to play at Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon. Liberty beat the Dolphins, 69-53, on January 12th.