It was a tale of two halves Friday night in Liberty Arena, as Liberty (2-2) fell to Southern Miss (4-0), 76-72.
The Golden Eagles dominated in the first half, shooting over 59% from the field while forcing 10 Liberty turnovers en route to a commanding 17-point halftime lead. It looked like the Golden Eagles would pick up right where they left off in the first half, as Southern Miss began the half with a quick 8-2 run, and increased their lead to 26 with 16:34 remaining in the game. Then the Flames caught fire. Thanks to an offensive explosion from Brody Peebles and Darius McGhee and a raucous Liberty Arena, the Flames went on a 26-0 run to tie the game with 9:23 remaining. Liberty would take a 61-59 lead with just over five minutes remaining, but the Golden Eagles would ultimately prevail.
Three-pointers were prevalent in this game as Southern Miss was 8-21 from long range (38.1%), while the Flames connected on 10 three-pointers off of 29 attempts (34.5%). Southern Miss forced a season-high 16 turnovers from the Flames, who are averaging 13 turnovers a game so far in the young season. Felipe Haase and Austin Crowley provided a lethal one-two punch, often getting baskets at crucial times for the Golden Eagles. Crowley finished with 25 points and Haase finished with 23 points and 8 rebounds.
Darius McGhee led the Flames with 29 points and also added six rebounds. Brody Peebles added 24 points off the bench in 24 minutes, while shooting a near perfect 8-9 from the field and 6-7 from three. Peebles has proven to be a consistent scoring threat for the Flames through Liberty’s first four games. The Alabama native has reached double-figures in every contest and has led the team in scoring on two separate occasions.
Liberty will now turn its focus to the Northwestern Wildcats. The Flames will face their second Power Five opponent of the season on Tuesday as a part of the Cancun Challenge. Tip-off will be at 8:30 pm Est and you can watch the game on the CBS Sports Network.