LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty tipped off the 2021-22 season Thursday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,034 fans at Liberty Arena, the most fans ever at a game in Liberty Arena. The Flames dominated from start-to-finish, defeating Regent 85-24 for its first win of the season.
Liberty dominated from tip-off, starting the game on a 14-0 run sparked by the reigning ASUN Player of the Year, Darius McGhee, scoring eight of the 14 points. Liberty’s defense frustrated Regent all half, forcing the Royals to shoot 6-31 from the field while the Flames shot 56 percent led by McGhee’s 11 points. Liberty went into the break with a 43-12 lead.
Liberty’s Keegan McDowell got things going for Liberty’s offense with back-to-back three-pointers to start the second half as the Flames were able to maintain their double-digit lead. Liberty continued to shoot at a high rate, going 16-28 (57.1 percent) throughout the second half as McGhee and Joseph Venzant led Liberty with 10 points each. Liberty’s bench was huge in the second half, scoring 20 of Liberty’s 42 points in the 2nd half as the Flames cruised to the victory.
Key Stats & Notes
- Liberty held Regent to 24 points, the fewest points Liberty has ever allowed in a game.
- Darius McGhee scored a game-high 21 points.
- Liberty had five players score double figures.
- Liberty’s freshmen, Brody Peebles (10 points) and Joseph Venzant (13 points), combined to score 23 points.
- Kyle Rode recorded a game-high seven assists to go along with eight rebounds and three points.
- Liberty shot 40 percent (12-30) from the three-point line.
- Liberty outscored Regent 42-14 inside the paint.
- Liberty shot 56.9 percent (33-58) from the field.
- Liberty held Regent’s offense to 20.8 percent (11-53) from the field.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“First, on behalf of our program, we just want to thank all the Veterans around the world that have fought and continue to fight for our freedom, what a joyous day to celebrate all that they have done, so thank you and bless you. Also, the players that have come before us, the coaches, managers; all those who have bled and sweat to make a program have a home court advantage that we had tonight, that was special. It was really neat to be in the arena. Very thankful that our administration has been so supportive, and I can tell you everyone in that locker room was really excited for the people that showed up. Flames Nation was great, so thank you.”
Liberty will play its first road game on Monday, Nov. 15, at LSU. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.