LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty completed the weekend sweep over Kennesaw State, defeating the Owls 76-47. Liberty improves to 11-4 this season and 3-1 in the ASUN Conference while Kennesaw State drops to 3-9 and 0-4 in conference.
Chris Parker kick started Liberty’s offense, scoring eight points in the first eight minutes of the game. The Flames took advantage of Kennesaw State inside the paint, as 14 of Liberty’s first 20 points were inside the paint. Liberty had seven players score in the first half, led by Parker’s 10 points to go into the break with a 36-30 lead. Despite shooting just 37 percent as a team, Spencer Rodgers (12 points) and Chris Youngblood (14 points) kept Kennesaw State in the ballgame combining to score 26 of Kennesaw State’s 30 points.
The Flames started the second half on a 13-2 run sparked by Elijah Cuffee (five points) and Darius McGhee (five points) scoring 10 of Liberty’s 13 points. After making just one three-pointer in the first half, Liberty picked up its shooting from beyond the arc, making seven three-pointers in the second half. After combining for 26 points in the first half, Liberty held KSU’s Rodgers and Youngblood to just two points in the second half. Liberty’s bench stepped up, scoring 22 of Liberty’s 40 points in the second half to pull out the victory.
Key Stats & Notes
· Liberty extends its home winning streak to 31 games, the second longest in Division I.
· This was the third time this season Liberty has held an opponent to 50 points or less.
· Liberty had three players score double-figures led by Darius McGhee (12 points).
· Jonathan Jackson tied his season-high in points with eight.
· Keegan McDowell grabbed six rebounds, matching his career-high.
· Liberty out-rebounded Kennesaw State 39-29.
· Liberty outscored Kennesaw State 40-14 inside the paint.
· Liberty’s bench outscored KSU’s bench 33-15.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“I am really proud of our group and their effort in the second half. Not that I am not proud of their effort in the first (half), but I thought we imposed our will on both ends of the floor and I think it started with Elijah Cuffee. He was really special defensively.”
Liberty will hit the road next week, as the Flames continue their ASUN schedule against Stetson. The weekend series against the Hatters begins on Friday, Jan. 15, and can be seen on ESPN+.