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Liberty drops weekend series opener at Stetson, 66-59

liberty basketballLiberty’s second half struggles proved costly in Game 1 of the weekend series at Stetson, as the Flames drop the 66-59 final to the Hatters.

Liberty falls to 11-5 on the season and 3-2 in the ASUN Conference while Stetson improves to 4-5 overall and 2-1 in conference.

Blake Preston kickstarted Liberty’s offense scoring six points in the first three and a half minutes of the game, and the Flames would go into the break with a 31-25 lead. Stetson’s 25 points is the second fewest points for Stetson has scored in a half this season.

Stetson was able to get back into the game and tie it up (42-42) at the 11:33 mark, erasing Liberty’s six-point lead and eventually taking the lead with 10 minutes left in the game.

Turnovers proved costly for the Flames in the second half, with Liberty committing nine turnovers, which led to 14 points for Stetson.

Christian Jones (15 points) and Chase Johnston (12 points) took over for the Hatters in the second half, scoring 27 of Stetson’s 40 points in the second half to pull out the victory.

Parker would score Liberty’s last 11 points of the game to try to mount a comeback, but it wasn’t enough for the Flames.

“Their (Stetson) game plan was shoot the three, and if you don’t have it, drive it,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “They didn’t have one post up opportunity the whole night, so they shoot the three, and we were late on a couple of contests. They continued to drive the ball, and they shot 21 free throws.”

Liberty will conclude the weekend series with Stetson on Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Edmunds Center. Tipoff against the Hatters is set for 5 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.


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