Vanderbilt hands Liberty its first loss

liberty basketballLiberty was handed its first loss of the season as the Flames fell to SEC foe Vanderbilt 79-70 Monday night at Memorial Gymnasium.

The Flames (3-1) hung with the undefeated Commodores all night during Vanderbilt’s smallest win margin this season.

Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland led the charge all night for the Commodores, scoring a career-high 33 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds.

Three Liberty players scored double figures led by Lovell Cabbil Jr. with 16 points. Darius McGhee scored a career-high 15 points to go along with three rebounds, three steals and one block.

After Liberty trailed by four at half (37-33), Vanderbilt got hot from three-point range, shooting 45.5 percent during the second half led by Garland’s 18 second half points.

Liberty struggled from three-point range, hitting just 26.9 percent (7-26) from beyond the arc.

“I thought we battled tonight but I did not think we were in our lanes,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “I told our players that if got into an open gym then Vandy would have the advantage because of the fantastic players they have. If you look at draft boards, Darius Garland is right up there as a top-10 lottery pick and (Simisola) Shittu is as good as talked about. They have great talent and I felt like we just got out of character and we didn’t quite stay in our lane.”

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