Liberty (16-9, 5-5) defeated Louisiana Tech (16-8, 6-3), 65-62, in front of a sellout crowd of 3,696 on Saturday night at Liberty Arena in Lynchburg, Virginia. Kaden Metheny broke the tie with 2 seconds left to give the Flames the win at home.

“Hats off to Louisiana Tech,” said Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay. “That is a terrific team. They are a really hard prep because they have some terrific players. Coach Hester has done a phenomenal job, he and his staff. It’s a great win because of the caliber of the opponent. Secondly, we don’t wint hat game without Flames Nation. They were tremendous, gave us a home court advantage that we certainly needed tonight. Happy with our group, the way they navigated the bumpy road.”

The Flames trailed for more than 32 minutes on Saturday night, but an 18-4 run late in the second half lifted Liberty to its first lead and pushed the team to the win. Brody Peebles hit a jumper in the paint to put the Flames up by two with 23 seconds left. The Bulldogs tied it right after with 12 seconds left. Then, Liberty got the ball to Zach Cleveland who attacked the paint before kicking it out to an open Kaden Metheny for the game winning three pointer on the wing.

Metheny led the team with 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting and 3 of 7 from three. Kyle Rode added 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting and 4 of 8 from three. Brody Peebles continued his strong play, scoring 16 while making 6 of 11 shots and 2 of 6 from three.

The Flames will have just one game next week, playing at Sam Houston on Saturday, February 17 in Huntsville, Texas. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+ against the Bearkats who are 13-11 overall and 6-3 in CUSA play.


Liberty trailed by 9 against the first place Bulldogs about midway through the second half, but the Flames would not go down without a punch. A 7-0 run that was capped by a Kyle Rode three pointer, cut it to two. La Tech followed with two buckets, but the Flames quickly responded with 11 straight. Metheny scored the last 5 of that run and his three pointer with 5:03 left in the game gave the team its first lead of the game.

In total it was an 18-4 spurt over about 7 minutes of game action that pushed Liberty into its largest lead of the night at five. Even when the Bulldogs scored five straight to tie it, the Flames did what it needed to seal the close victory on its home floor.

“What makes La Tech so good is they are terrific defensively,” said McKay. “They have a presence in the paint with Crawford and Batcho that are high major-ish. It’s going to be a grind no matter who plays them. It’s going to be a grind because they are hard to play against. They are just a tough out.”


Liberty’s Kaden Metheny, Kyle Rode, and Brody Peebles scored 55 of Liberty’s 65 points on the night. This trio got the job done throughout the game and in the clutch moments when the team needed it.

With Joseph Venzant still dealing with a sore shoulder, Liberty’s depth has taken a huge hit. The Flames played its five starters each more than 33 minutes in the win with only one bench point – a free throw from Ben Southerland. Zach Cleveland scored 7 points and Colin Porter added 2, but other than that it was all Metheny, Rode and Peebles.


It wasn’t long ago when Liberty had struggled to an 0-3 mark in conference play. And it was just 9 days ago when the team limped to 2-5 and were coming off a tough loss at New Mexico State with one of its players exiting the game with a broken nose and concussion. Just 2 days later the team had to play another game on the road.

Since then, Liberty has found some success, winning three straight to move to 5-5 in conference play. The Flames are now just 1.5 games out of first place where Louisiana Tech and Sam Houston both currently reside at 6-3. New Mexico State (5-3) and Western Kentucky (6-4) also stand in front of Liberty at the present as the Flames stand alone in 5th place. 6 games remain in conference play for the Flames with three coming at home and three on the road.

“0-3 is a long way back just to .500,” McKay stated. “We tried to ignore the standings, just focus on getting better, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’re in the back half of league play. We’ve played everybody now. I think that tournament in Huntsville will be one that will be fun to be a part of because of the parity and the balance in this league. I think it’s terrific. I’m pleased that we’re getting better.”