Liberty (11-4, 2-0) continued its strong play against Lipscomb (8-7, 0-2), knocking off the Bisons, 77-48. It was the first game for the Flames in the new year and the home opener for conference play as Liberty improves to 2-0 in the ASUN.

The Bisons played the game without their head coach Lennie Acuff. He did not make the trip with the team from Nashville as he recovers from a non-COVID illness.

“Prayers go out to Coach Acuff,” said Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay. “He’s iconic in our business. I didn’t even known until five minutes before the game that he wasn’t on the trip. Let’s keep him in our prayers. I think he’s out of the hospital now. I know that’s hard to watch your team from the television set and not be with them. I did it when we had COVID, ironically enough against Lipscomb.”

Darius McGhee started the scoring with a three pointer just 16 seconds into game action. He would give the Flames the lead that the team would not relinquish all night. This marks the second straight game to open conference play that Liberty has not trailed.

Going up against Lipscomb big man Ahsan Asadullah, McKay went to a different starting lineup for the first time this year. Blake Preston got the start for Shiloh Robinson to match up with Asadullah. It was Preston’s first start since January 27 of last year when he got the nod against North Alabama. It also came just one game after Preston played a season low four minutes at Bellarmine.

“I thought Blake Preston was huge right from the beginning,” said McKay. “He’s historically been pretty good in that matchup with Asadullah. I felt like that got us off to a good start.”

McGhee led the team with 19 points while making five triples. Brody Peebles also hit five treys, finishing with 15 points. Kyle Rode added 13 and Shiloh Robinson rounded out the double figure scorers with 10. Colin Porter only had 2 points but he finished with a career high 6 rebounds to go along with 4 assists.

Liberty concludes its brief two-game home stand on Thursday night against last year’s ASUN NCAA Tournament representative, Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks are currently 7-8 overall and 0-2 in the ASUN following their loss at Jacksonville on Monday night.


Liberty’s defense has gone to another level in recent games. The Flames are making it tough for opponents to get clean looks with their stifling play on the defensive end.

The Bisons were held to just seven made field goals in the first half while shooting only 31.8% from the field and being held without a made three point bucket. For the game, Lipscomb failed to reach 50 points and had 16 turnovers.

“I think we were good defensively,” said McKay. “I think they probably had a little adversity not having their coach here. It may have taken them off rhythm a little bit. Our coaches have done a great job preparing for opponents and our guys have applied the scout. I do think we’re getting better defensively. Since Thanksgiving, I feel like we are better than we were, I can tell you that.”


The Flames have now played 80 minutes of conference basketball this season, and they have not trailed a single moment during the first two games.

Liberty went on the road and led reigning ASUN champ Bellarmine from start to finish on Thursday night, to open conference play. The same was the case to open up the home portion of the conference schedule. McGhee scored on the opening possession and pushed the lead to 7-0 before the Bisons could get on the scoreboard.


The Flames’ starting backcourt, Colin Porter and Darius McGhee, both exited the game midway through the second half. McGhee appeared to bump knees with a Lipscomb player and immediately went to the team’s bench. Just a few minutes later, Porter landed awkwardly and appeared to roll his right ankle and hobbled to the bench.

Fortunately, Porter was able to return to the court moments later. McGhee did not return to the game but remained on the bench and seemed to be ok. He was riding a stationary bike next to the team’s bench.

“Darius could have gone back in the game,” said McKay. “It’s a lower leg injury. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

As for Porter, McKay said he was dealing with cramps.