Liberty falls to #6 Indiana

libertyThe No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers used a strong shooting effort from the floor to defeat the Liberty Flames, 87-48 , Saturday night inside Assembly Hall.

Indiana shot 60.9 from the floor (28-of-46), while holding Liberty to 29.7 from the field (19-of-64) in its first road game of the season.

Liberty drops to 1-2 on the year. Indiana never trailed during the game and moves to 3-0. The first ever meeting between the Flames and Hoosiers is part of the Indiana Classic.

Guard Ray Chen came off the bench to lead the Flames with eight points, while fellow guard Caleb Homesley added seven. John Dawson, Liberty’s leading scorer coming into the game (14.5 ppg), was held to two points, tying his lowest offensive output as a Flame.

Indiana guard James Blackmon, Jr. had a game-high 20 points, while fellow guard Robert Johnson had 13 to pace the Hoosiers. Center OG Anunoby posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Indiana outrebounded Liberty, 55-20, helping the Hoosiers outscore the Flames, 36-24, in points in the paint. Liberty’s pressure defense did force Indiana to turn the ball over 26 times, but the Flames were only able to turn the miscues into 17 points.

Indiana scored the first nine points of the contest and jumped out to a 15-5 advantage during the first 8:17. Holding the Flames to 2-of-12 shooting, the Hoosiers had all five starters net a basket over the span.

Homesley cut the home team’s lead to eight, 15-7, with a lay-up at 11:30. However over the next eight minutes, the Flames were held scoreless. During the span, Indiana expanded its lead with 14 unanswered. Blackmon, Jr. hit two three-pointers and Anunoby scored five of his first half seven points, as Indiana took a 39-7 lead.

A Myo Baxter-Bell tip-in not only stopped the Hoosier run, but started a 12-4 burst by the Flames. A lay-up and four made three throws by Chen fueled the spurt. A jumper by Dawson capped the run with a jumper from the elbow with 34 second left.

The Hoosier Devonte Green hit two free throws to send Indiana to halftime with a 45-19 advantage.

Liberty was held to 21.2 percent (7-of-22) from the floor and just 5.9 percent (1-of-17) from beyond the three-point line during the first 20 minutes of play. Chen led the Flames with six points, going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Indiana sizzled from the floor, shooting 64.0 percent (16-of-25) from the field and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from behind the arc. The Hoosiers outrebounded the Flames, 32-7.

Blackmon, Jr. led all scorers with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting. He also had eight rebounds. Johnson added 10 points, while Anunoby grabbed a first-half high nine rebounds and had seven points.

Liberty’s Ryan Kemrite hit a lay-up and connected on a three-pointer on back-to-back trips down the floor to make it, 55-28, at 15:51 of the second half in an effort to keep the home team from furthering its lead. After the basket, Indiana scored on its next two trips down the floor, before a Baxter-Bell jumper at 14:05 made it, 61-30.

Liberty ran off seven unanswered points over 1:43 span late in the final half to within 75-42 at 5:01. A three-pointer by Lovell Cabbil started the spurt with 6:16 remaining. The bucket was followed by layups by Josiah Talbert and Chen.

The Flames return home to host the UMass-Lowell RiverHawks, Monday in their second game of the Indiana Classic. Tipoff from the Vines Center is set for 6 p.m.

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