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Liberty Basketball: Flames capture share of ASUN title

liberty basketballTo come away with Liberty’s third regular season title in program history, Liberty men’s basketball would have to dig deep and pull out a gutsy road win to end the regular season at NJIT Friday night. In order to pull out the win, Liberty went back to its roots, holding NJIT to a season-low 51 points to defeat the Highlanders 57-51.

With the win, Liberty improves to a school Division I record 25-6 and claims a share of the ASUN Conference regular season title. Liberty shared the title with Lipscomb, as both teams ended the regular season 14-2 in conference. Lipscomb secured the No. 1 seed in next week’s ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship by virtue of the conference’s tiebreaker policy, while Liberty will the No. 2 seed during its inaugural run in the conference tournament.

On a night where Liberty’s offense was not clicking on all cylinders, its defense came up big, forcing the Highlanders to shoot 36 percent for the game (18-50). Abdul Lewis was the focal point of NJIT’s offense, scoring half of NJIT’s points (25 points) but the rest of the Highlanders managed to make just nine field goals throughout the game. The Highlanders came close to tying the game with 5:14 left, pulling within two points, 48-46, but Liberty responded by scoring nine of the game’s final 14 points to clinch the win.

“First of all, I am really proud of that group of young men in the locker room,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “We (coaching staff) have been blessed to lead them and that was huge, the way we had to do it tonight. To come on the road against a really good NJIT team and battle some adversity and foul trouble, I am just proud of them. Credit goes to a lot of people, including our players and our coaches. The credit also goes to Flames Nation. We were 14-1 at home and had our second largest average attendance within the last eight years. I love the direction we are headed and excited that we are co-champs, but obviously we have a lot more to play for.”

augusta free press
augusta free press