The Flames pick up their first non-conference Division 1 win in almost 2 years, knocking off UMass Lowell, 84-77. Here’s our rapid reactions:

  1. This game was a good measuring stick for the Flames at this point in time. UMass Lowell is a team that would have beat the Flames the past couple of years, and they are a team that will win some games this season. Liberty was able to battle back from being down by as many as 6 points to pull the game out in the final minutes.
  2. For the 2nd consecutive game Coach McKay went small with the starting lineup as true freshman Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz started alongside Lovell Cabbil, John Dawson, Ryan Kemrite and Myo Baxter-Bell.
  3. John Dawson, Ryan Kemrite and Caleb Homesley carried the weight for the Flames all night. Kemrite provided the early scoring punch, Dawson gave the team a boost to open the 2nd half, and Homesley scored throughout. Kemrite finished the game with 21 points, boosted by 10 of 11 shooting from the free throw line. Homesley had 19 points on 7 of 9 shooting. He also led the way with 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 32 minutes. Dawson finished the game with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
  4. It was an odd environment in the Vines Center with the Liberty students on Thanksgiving break. It was eerily quiet with less than 1,000 people in the gym. Liberty was able to create their own energy, as Coach McKay described, to will themselves to the victory.
  5. Thus far in the season, McKay has used multiple variations of lineups. It’s been hard for the team to establish much of a rhythm has he tinkers with the different combinations. In the closing minutes of the 2nd half, he shortened his bench to those he trusted as the Flames seized control of the game.
  6. Brock Gardner and Xzavier Barmore made an impression on the game in their limited time on the court. Gardner, the 6’7″ freshman from Chandler, Arizona, knocked down two 3-pointers in the first half. He finished with the 6 points on 2/5 shooting in 9 minutes. Barmore played 7 minutes and was 0/4 from the floor, but added a rebound and an assist. Coach McKay called an isolation play for Xzavier when it was just a 1 point game with 4 minutes left in the game. Barmore got to the bucket, but he missed the contested layup. He definitely has the offensive skills and quickness to be a difference maker on that end of the floor. As the rest of his game matures, he’ll be sure to get some playing time.
  7. Lovell Cabbil slipped to the floor and violently hit his head on the floor late in the first half. He did not return to the game, and was seen on the Liberty bench at the end of the game with a towel wrapped around his head. McKay’s early report for Cabbil says he is a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game.
  8. A.C. Reid gave the Flames a 4 point lead by way of some good fortune. With the shot clock ticking down, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz threw a pass to no one that was deflected to Reid. A.C. knocked down an 3-pointer from NBA range as the shot clock expired to give Liberty a 1 point. On the very next possession, Reid hit another 3 pointer to push the Flames lead to 4. The sharpshooter finished the game with 9 points on 3/5 shooting from deep.
  9. As mentioned in the open, Liberty put to bed its 15 game losing streak against non-conference Division I opponents. The streak dated back to December 1, 2014 when the Flames beat Furman. This was Coach McKay’s first such win since returning to Liberty last season. One small step in the right direction.
  10. Liberty returns to action Wednesday afternoon as the Flames play host to Mississippi Valley State at 2pm.