Liberty opens new arena with 78-62 win over Saint Francis
Liberty (3-2) shot 53 percent from the field, led by Keegan McDowell’s career-high 21 points.
Both teams went back-and-forth with seven lead changes and being tied five times. Liberty took the lead off a McDowell three-pointer at the 4:03-mark and the Flames never trailed again.
Drake Dobbs put the exclamation point on the first half for Liberty, with a half-court buzzer-beater, to end the half with a 39-32 lead.
The Flames tightened up defensively in the second half, forcing Saint Francis (1-3) to shoot 34 percent (9-of-26) from the floor, limiting the Red Flash to just two makes from beyond the arc.
Liberty continued to be steady on offense, shooting 56 percent (13-of-23) from the field. Once again, McDowell led the Flames in scoring, dropping nine points in the latter half.
The Flames distributed the ball well throughout the night, especially in the second half recording nine assists off 13 makes.
“I knew going in, this was going to be difficult,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “Having played four high-majors, and then a team that may not be as well-known or well-recognized but they are tremendously coached, I thought it would be hard for us. I think Drake Dobbs’ half-court shot allowed us to take a little bit of a breath. We looked much more like ourselves in the second half.”