The Flames rolled in the second half, as Liberty (7-4) defeated Bryant (8-4), 82-62 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic.

For the majority of the contest, it was a back-and-forth affair as the Bulldogs maintained a one-point advantage at the end of the first half. The Flames were able to pull away, however, in large part due to a 13-0 run midway through the second half. While turnovers have been a problem for the Flames this season, that was not the case this afternoon. Liberty only turned the ball over seven times, while forcing fourteen turnovers from the Bulldogs.

“I think we were more poised in this 40 minutes of basketball, then we have been a majority of the season,” said Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay. “I see growth and I’m excited about that.”

The lack of turnovers and controlling the tempo proved huge for Liberty. Even though Bryant shot well, shooting 48.9% from the field, the Flames were able to slow down the high-tempo Bulldogs. The Flames defense surrendered just 62 points to Bryant, holding them over 27 points under their season average of 89.5 points per game. That combined with an extremely efficient offensive performance from the Flames who shot just under 50% from the field (49.2%) and 37% from three, resulted in a 20-point Liberty blowout win.

“We’ve got some offensive weaponry that when we’re right we can really be effective on that end and even when we’re not, I hope our defense can continue to grow so we can stay as competitive as we hope to be.” McKay stated after the win.

Darius McGhee led the team in scoring with 22, while Kyle Rode and Brody Peebles offered a strong supporting cast scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively. Rode also led the team in assists (5), while Peebles secured a team-high five rebounds. Blake Preston also provided a nice spark off of the bench for Liberty. The Charlotte native was forced to come in once Shiloh Robinson got into foul trouble and secured five rebounds and six points in 14 minutes played. The Flames shot well from the charity stripe as well, going 12-14 from the free throw line.

“Our defense and offense play off of each other,” said Liberty guard Brody Peebles. “When we’re getting stops and getting great shots and making shots, you know that’s our identity. I think when we do that it makes us really tough to play against.”

Darius McGhee made some history this afternoon, passing Steph Curry on the all-time three-point list, with his 415th made three-pointer.

“Yeah, he’s Darius McGhee and were all familiar with how accurate he is beyond the arc.” McKay said. “He’s special, but what I think makes Darius unique to most guys with his ability is his humility and his desire to win the game.”

Liberty will return home to the Mountain for their final two games of the nonconference slate. The Flames will face Grambling State (6-3), Monday night and then will close out the week with Mid-Atlantic Christian (4-4) next Wednesday. Liberty vs Grambling State will tip-off Monday at 7:00 pm est, you can watch the game on ESPN+.