LYNCHBURG, Va. – For the second straight season Liberty has gone unbeaten at home as the Flames completed the sweep over North Alabama, defeating the Lions 74-54. Liberty improves to 19-5 and 10-2 in conference while North Alabama drops to 10-10 and 6-8 in conference. With the win, Liberty moves into a tie for first place in the ASUN Conference with Bellarmine, setting up a showdown in Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, Feb. 27, against Bellarmine for the ASUN Regular Season Championship on ESPNU. With the win, Liberty’s Elijah Cuffee won his 100th career game, becoming the third player in program history to reach the milestone.
After scoring 29 points on Monday against North Alabama, Darius McGhee stayed hot scoring 11 of Liberty’s first 15 points of the game. Liberty’s first eight shots of the game were from beyond the arc, as the Flames shot 50 percent during that span to jump out to an 18-9 lead. Liberty’s defense frustrated North Alabama throughout the half as the Lions shot 32 percent from the floor while Liberty shot 45 percent. Liberty’s seven three-pointers gave the Flames the 41-23 advantage going into halftime. McGhee led all scorers with 15 points.
Jamari Blackmon came out firing to kickstart North Alabama’s offense scoring eight points in the first two minutes of the half. North Alabama shot 54 percent in the first eight minutes of the half, closing the gap on Liberty’s double-digit lead to 11 points (54-43) with nine minutes left in the game. The Flames were able to keep North Alabama away from their lead thanks to McGhee (nine points) and Kyle Rode (eight points) as the two combined to scored 17 of Liberty’s 33 points in the second half. Liberty’s bench came up clutch in the second half, outscoring North Alabama’s bench 14-2 to pull out the 20-point win.
Key Stats & Notes
- Liberty extended its winning streak at home to 36 games, which is the second longest in the country.
- Elijah Cuffee won his 100th career game at Liberty, which is the third most wins in program history.
- Liberty improved to 13-0 at home, going unbeaten at home for the second straight season.
- Darius McGhee moved to No. 30 on Liberty’s all-time scoring list with 956 career points, passing Alex McLean.
- McGhee posted his ninth 20-point game this season with a game-high 24 points.
- Kyle Rode scored 13 points to go along with six rebounds.
- Liberty’s bench outscored North Alabama’s bench 27-9.
- Liberty shot 48 percent from three (16-33) while holding UNA to 25 percent (5-20).
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“To have another season where we went unbeaten at home is really a blessing, especially in a year like we had with COVID-19 and all the restrictions and the testing. It is a resilient group and they played well today. It was exciting to see our effort.”
Liberty will play its final game of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27, as the Flames travel to Louisville, Ky. to face Bellarmine in a battle for the ASUN Regular Season Championship. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.