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Three-point shooting propels Liberty past Northern Iowa

liberty basketballLiberty advances to the winner’s bracket after defeating Northern Iowa, 76-74, in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic on Wednesday.

The Flames improve to 8-4 and await the winner of the Stanford vs. Wyoming game on Thursday.

Northern Iowa jumped out to a 20-9 lead by the 12-minute mark, but after a 1-of-7 start from the floor, the Flames were able to respond with a 12-0 run to get back into the game sparked by Shiloh Robinson scoring eight of Liberty’s 12 points during the run as the Flames took their first lead of the game (23-22) at the 8:49 mark of the first half. Liberty would get hot from beyond the arc to close out the half, shooting 50 percent from three-point range (8-of-16) as five different players made a three-pointer, led by Kyle Rode shooting a perfect 3-of-3.

Up 39-31 at the break, Liberty would lead by as many as 11 in the second half before  Northern Iowa was able to storm back late, making it a one-point game (75-74) with six seconds left in the contest.

After McDowell made 1-of-2 free throws, UNI had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but UNI’s AJ Green missed a three-pointer.

Darius McGhee scored a game-high 22 points, recording his 19th career 20-point game, and moving to  moved to No. 18 on Liberty’s all-time scoring list with 1,289 career points, passing Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz.

“Really good win for our program,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “Northern Iowa is a program I have followed for years, and I have a great deal of admiration for. I think Ben Jacobson is a fabulous coach and their staff does a great job, and they have one of the best players in the country in AJ Green, so I was proud of our defensive efforts against him and the rest of their group. I think that was what was able to propel us to victory.”


augusta free press
augusta free press