Liberty (5-4) saw their four-game win streak come to an end Saturday night, at the hands of Stephen F. Austin (8-2), by a final score of 63-51.


The Flames struggled to score all night in Fort Worth, shooting a mere 32.2% from the field and only connected on eight three pointers despite 36 attempts. Darius McGhee started out hot for the Flames, scoring 13 of Liberty’s first 14 points, all within the first seven minutes of play. McDowell was the only other Flame besides McGhee to connect on multiple field goals in the first half. The Flames dominated defensively in the first half of play, forcing eight turnovers, and holding the Lumberjacks to just 37% from the field. However, the Flames could not get any separation and a 5-0 run by Stephen F. Austin in the closing minutes gave the Lumberjacks a three-point advantage at the end of the first half.


The Flames struggles away from Liberty Arena continue. Liberty is 1-4 in contests not played in Lynchburg this season and are averaging just 55.6 points in those games. At home, however, Liberty is 4-0 and is averaging 80 points per game. The Flames and Lumberjacks were similar in all statistical categories except for two. In three-point percentage, Liberty went 8-36 while shooting at a 22.2% clip, while Stephen F. Austin went 8-15 shooting at a 53.3% clip. Another stark difference was at the free throw line. Stephen F. Austin made 15 free throws on 24 attempts while Liberty only made 5 on 6 attempts. While the Lumberjacks did not have a great shooting percentage at the line, they were able to create a bunch of attempts, which gave them a 10-point advantage over the Flames on free throws alone.


McGhee ended up with 22 points and was the only Flame to reach double figures. Joseph Venzant finished with 6 points and 11 rebounds and was active on the boards all night. With those 11 rebounds, Venzant became the first Liberty freshman since Caleb Homesley (2016), to record at least 10 rebounds in a game.


The Flames will look to get back on track next week. On Monday, Liberty returns to Lynchburg to face Carver College and then on Friday, Liberty will face a tough ECU team in Charlotte.