Home Liberty drops home contest to Grand Canyon, 69-64: Flames have lost three of last four
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Liberty drops home contest to Grand Canyon, 69-64: Flames have lost three of last four

Chris Graham
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Liberty raced out to an early 17-point lead, but Grand Canyon got back in the game with a couple of big runs on the way to a 69-64 win in Lynchburg on Saturday.

The setback snaps the Flames’ 20-game home winning streak.

Liberty (7-3) raced out to an early 23-6 lead in the first 8:08 of the game, knocking down 8-of-14 field goal attempts (57.1 percent) in the process, but Grand Canyon (8-1) got back into it with a 15-0 run, and the game would go into the half tied at 32-32.

The Flames’ biggest lead of the second half was nine points (46-37). GCU used a 14-4 run to take a 51-50 edge at the 8:12 mark, and took its biggest lead of the afternoon, 62-55, with 2:33 left, but the Flames closed to within one with a six-point spurt.

Shiloh Robinson’s tip-in at the 1:18 mark cut the GCU lead to one, 62-61.

In the closing minute, Liberty had a chance to claim the lead, but Colin Porter’s jumper rimmed in and out with 37 seconds left. GCU’s Ray Harrison knocked down a pair of foul shots to bump the guests’ lead up to three, 64-61.

Porter split a pair of free throws to cut the GCU edge to two, 64-62, and Joseph Venzant collected Porter’s missed second free throw. Venzant’s follow-up attempt bounced off the rim.

GCU converted 5-of-6 free throws in the closing 19.6 seconds, with Harrison knocking down 4-of-4, to secure the victory.

“I’m thankful for our fans. They had our arena rocking,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “That was a great atmosphere and fun college basketball atmosphere to be a part of, not so much to be on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Our guys are thankful and blessed to have an opportunity to play against such a quality opponent in the arena.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].