For the 3rd consecutive season, Liberty made quick work of Clarks Summit, as the Flames raced out to a 25-4 lead early in the first half. Liberty would go on to defeat the Defenders, 87-42. The Flames have now defeated Clarks Summit by an average of 43.7 points in the 3 games the teams have played the last 3 years.
Coach McKay started the 4 returning starters – Ryan Kemrite, Lovell Cabbil, Myo Baxter-Bell, and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz – and Ezra Talbert got his first career start in his 69th career game.
The home team was highlighted by incredible depth as 10 guys played double figure minutes. Four Flames reached double figures, Lovell Cabbil had 12 points on 5/8 shooting. Ezra Talbert added 13 points on 6/8 shooting while true freshman Keegan McDowell had 11 points. Akron transfer Isaiah Williams had an impressive debut with 13 points (on just 3 field goal attempts) and a highlight reel dunk.
Elijah Cuffee also had a nice debut with 8 points and 5 rebounds.
One of the worst offensive rebounding teams in 2016-17, Liberty pulled down 13 offensive boards and scored 21 second chance points on the night. Talbert led the team with 4 offensive rebounds. Talbert and Cabbil led the team with 7 and 6 rebounds, respectively.
After tearing his ACL against Princeton last December, Caleb Homesley made his debut in the 2nd half of the game. He played 10 minutes and recorded 3 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The Flames shot 52% from the floor, but were held to 5/22 shooting from 3. Clarks Summit was held to 30% shooting on the evening.
The 4,904 fans that attended the game were very energetic, led by a boisterous Jerry Joker’s group. The Jokers were invited to practice by Coach McKay earlier this week as they had the opportunity to meet the team.
Liberty returns to action on Tuesday night in their first road contest and first meeting with another DI opponent when they face Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons opened the season with an 85-83 loss against Georgia Southern on Friday night.