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Liberty gets 41 from Darius McGhee, but falls to Stanford, 79-76

liberty basketballLiberty went toe-to-toe with Stanford in the Diamond Head Classic semifinals Thursday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center, dropping a nail-biter, 79-76.

Liberty’s Darius McGhee scored 41 points, tying the program’s Division I record held by Matt Hildebrand.

The Flames fall to 8-5 on the season.

Stanford went on an 18-6 run to close out the half and to tie the game at 36-36. McGhee led all scorers with 16 points. Liberty was able to force 12 turnovers in the first half that led to 12 points for the Flames.

Stanford quickly took the lead after intermission, opening the half on a 5-0 run. The Flames and Cardinal would go back-and-forth exchanging the lead five different times and tying the ball game three separate times within the first eight minutes of the half. After exchanging the lead, Stanford would take an eight-point lead (67-59) with 4:52 left in the contest, and the Cardinal would never relinquish their lead. Liberty was able to shrink Stanford’s lead to one point (77-76) but Liberty was never able to take over the lead.

“That was a really hard-fought game and really proud of our guys,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “That was a highly intense, NCAA Tournament-like game with the level of physicality and the two teams battled each other, unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough tonight. I still feel like our guys are getting better and we will have another opportunity on Christmas.”

Liberty will now face the loser of the BYU vs. Vanderbilt game on Christmas, at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2.

augusta free press
augusta free press