Liberty (1-1) led for more than half of the game including with five minutes left to play before LSU (3-0) closed on a 27-6 lead to coast to a 74-58 win in Baton Rouge Monday night. The Flames committed 21 turnovers on the evening that led to a 23-14 advantage in points off turnovers for the Tigers.

Darius McGhee and Brody Peebles would lead the team in scoring as the senior led the way with 22 points and the freshman chipped in 12 points, all in the second half. Keegan McDowell added 10 points to round out the double figure scorers. The Flames shot just 38% from the field and were 8 of 26 from three.

“We don’t play the guarantee games so we can get a payday,” Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay said. “We want to walk into a gym with an expectation to win. I thought our effort was good. You’ve got execute better against a team like this. It’s early, there’s a lot of positive takeaways from this, but we let small incisions bleed us to death.”

The Flames stay on the road this weekend for a pair of games in Orlando, Florida as part of the ASUN/MAAC Challenge. Liberty will face Iona this coming Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. The following day, the Flames will face Manhattan at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.


We may just leave this here the entire season. Darius McGhee is incredibly talented and can get his shot against any team in the country. He didn’t have his most efficient game, but he still paced the team with 22 points despite only making 2 of 11 three point attempts.

In the second half, LSU made sure their defense didn’t allow the Flames’ leader to get a clean look, and they kept him at bay. He was only able to attempt six field goals in the second half compared to his 11 first half shots. As long as McGhee is on the Liberty side, he gives the team a chance to win in any game.


In the beginning stages of the second half, I began to write my second takeaway was that Liberty needed to find a second scorer. It looked like there was nobody else the team could turn to on the offensive side of the floor after McGhee. That all changed in a few short minutes of the second half.

With Liberty struggling to find anything on offense, Peebles connected on three triples in just 1:41 seconds of game time. He helped propel the team to retake the lead after LSU seized control early in the second half. He scored all of his points in less than a 5 minutes span in the second half.

In the first half of the game, the true freshman looked timid and like he lacked confidence, but that changed with his first made triple in the corner. He quickly found his confidence and began attacking the basket with confidence and not hesitating to find his shot. With the explosive scoring ability of Peebles and McGhee to go along with the pack line defense, this team will be dangerous this season.

“I think the more he plays the more confident he’s going to get,” McKay said of Peebles. “He’s a good player. He’s a freshman. This is game two. We were fairly excited when he committed and signed to come play for us. That excitement has only increased since he’s been here.”


21 turnovers is too much to overcome at home against a fellow mid-major team, much less against an SEC top 25 type team on the road in LSU. The Flames struggled with the Tigers’ length, athleticism, and pressure. It was a good test for this Liberty team, and will strengthen them for future games throughout the season.

The lack of a true ball-handler on the roster came into play against LSU, but this team will figure it out. Peebles and Dobbs can both handle the ball, this was their first game playing significant minutes in a lead role. Yes, Dobbs played sparingly last season, but he was a role player coming in off the bench. The loss of Chris Parker really showed up tonight, but McKay has the pieces they just need to mature.

“Turning it over 21 times is a recipe for disaster for us,” McKay said. “We’ve got to do a better job of handling pressure. It was a very physical game.”