LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty is headed back to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Lipscomb 73-57 in the ASUN Championship in front of an ASUN Championship record crowd of 7,728 fans in the final game at the Vines Center. Liberty is now 30-4 this season as the Flames are back-to-back ASUN Champions for the first time in school history. Caleb Homesley was named the MVP of the ASUN Tournament while Darius McGhee and Scottie James were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Liberty was exceptional on offense for the first 20 minutes of the game, shooting 63 percent (17-27) from the field led by Caleb Homesley’s 14 points leading all scorers. Despite Lipscomb shooting 43 percent (10-23) and scoring 26 points, Liberty’s defense was able to frustrate Lipscomb’s offense, forcing nine turnovers which led to 18 points for the Flames. Feeding off the Vines Center’s energy, Liberty went into the break with a 45-26 lead.
Lipscomb was able to slow down Liberty’s offense to start the half, not allowing the Flames to score until the 15:07-mark, cutting Liberty’s lead to 45-33. To kick start Liberty’s offense, Darius McGhee got things going scoring eight points in the first eight minutes of the half and the Flames never looked back as they shot 44 percent from the field led by McGhee’s 10 points. Myo Baxter-Bell made a difference off the bench, scoring six points in the half as the Flames would hold onto its double-digit lead to come away with their second ASUN title.
Key Stats & Notes
· Liberty extended its school record home winning streak to 22 games.
· For the first time in school history, Liberty has won back-to-back conference tournament championships.
· Liberty remains a perfect 6-0 in the ASUN Tournament.
· Liberty ended the 2019-20 season with a perfect 17-0 record at the Vines Center.
· Sunday’s ASUN Championship 7,728 attendance is the most ever in an ASUN Championship game.
· Liberty is the ninth team to win back-to-back ASUN Championship titles and first to do so since FGCU in 2016-17.
· Elijah Cuffee scored a season-high 16 points.
· Cuffee and Caleb Homesley led Liberty with 16 points each.
· Liberty scored 20 points off Lipscomb’s turnovers while holding Lipscomb to seven points.
· Liberty scored 12 fast break points while not allowing Lipscomb to record one.
· Forty-five points was the most Liberty has scored in the first half in an ASUN Tournament game.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“First off, I want to say and I mean this sincerely, Lennie Acuff is a phenomenal coach and they’ve got a great program. To play as well as we did against that caliber of opponent was a real blessing. I congratulate them on their season and the way they finished. They were tremendous. Really proud of our group though, too. Anytime, and I’ve said this numerous times here in the last week or two, anytime you have the target on your back or you’re the team that’s expected to win, it’s hard. It’s hard to operate, navigate those expectations of others, but our group showed it’s emotional maturity. I think this afternoon was just a reflection of the growth that’s occurred in our guys. All these guys that are sitting to my right have had ebbs and flows in their season, but man, we came together tonight. We were a tough out on both ends of the floor. Lastly, was that environment not phenomenal? That was big time. That’s what you dream about when you’re a basketball player or you’re in a program. Hats off to Flames Nation. They were tremendous.”