From staff reports
Liberty followed up its worst offensive performance of the season earlier in the week with its most efficient outing early Friday afternoon.
The Flames shot better than 54% from the field and used a massive first-half run to easily put away Morgan State, 89-48, to open The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase at the Baha Mar Convention Center in Nassau, Bahamas.
Liberty improved to 6-0 for the first time in its Division I era and plays Rice at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Owls (5-2) defeated Milwaukee 75-69.
“I was really proud of our guys,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said in his postgame radio interview.
The Flames used a 24-2 run in the first half to take the lead for good.
“I just thought we were consistently sound on the defensive end,” McKay said.
Freshman Kyle Rode scored 15 of his career-high 17 points in the first half. He was 5 of 6 from the field and made all three of his 3-point attempts in an opening 20 minutes that saw the Flames take a 50-26 lead.
The 50 first-half points were the most in a half for the Flames since scoring 52 against UMass Lowell on Nov. 21, 2016.
“We’re striving for being great on the offensive end,” McKay said.
Scottie James became the 28th player in program history to score 1,000 points by tallying 15 points to go with four rebounds.
Elijah Cuffee scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, Shiloh Robinson had a career-high nine points, and Darius McGhee and Myo Baxter-Bell each had eight points.
Caleb Homesley, who did not play in Tuesday’s 55-48 victory over Navy, started and played only six minutes.
The Flames did not miss Homesley’s contributions against the Bears (3-3) after struggling mightily against the Midshipmen. Liberty shot a season-low 34.7% in that narrow triumph.
“We have a lot of room for improvement, and we should,” McKay said. “It’s November.”
Morgan State shot 28.6% from the field and made 3 of 19 attempts from beyond the arc.
Isiah Burke had 15 points for the Bears.