On Sunday night, the Liberty Flames defeated the Kansas City Kangaroos, 62-49, in the Championship Game of the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase in Nassua. With the win, the Flames continue to improve upon its program best start, moving to 8-0 on the season.
It was a dominating performance in the Bahamas for the Flames as Liberty won all three games 22 average margin of victory in the three games. Kyle Rode was named the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase Tournament MVP.
Once again playing without the injured Caleb Homesley, who played just 6 minutes in the three game tournament, Liberty got off to a strong start for the third consecutive game in the Bahamas. Scottie James scored the first 5 points of the game and Kyle Rode knocked down his 7th three-pointer of the tournament to give the Flames an early 8-0 lead by the first media timeout. The Flames wouldnt look back as they maintained the lead for the entire game.
The lead would grow to 10-0 on a Rode acrobatic putback before the Kangaroos finally got on the board. The Liberty defense frustrated the Roos in the opening minutes of the game, but they would settle in and string together a few quality possessions.
The Flames would maintain the lead thanks to a Darius Mcghee three-pointer, that came from beyond NBA range, and 4 quick points off the bench from Myo Baxter-Bell. Liberty led 17-8 at the under 12 media timeout of the first half.
Nothing came easy for Kansas City on the offensive end of the floor as this packline defense has reached a different level this season under Ritchie McKay. The Roos were thankful to bank in a three pointer as Liberty pushed its lead to 26-15 thanks in part to Rodes second triple of the evening as he led all scorers with 8.
UMKC was able to cut the lead to 6, as close as they had been since the opening minutes of the game, thanks to a quick 5-0 sport out of the timeout. The run was ended by a couple of Shiloh Robinson free throws as he got into the paint and drew a foul.
Liberty would close out the half strong as the Kangaroos did not score in the final 3:19 of the half as the Flames pushed its lead to 32-22 at the break. Kyle Rode led all scorers with 8 points, as he connected on 2 of his 3 three point attempts in the first half. Scottie James chipped in 7 points and 6 rebounds while Myo Baxter-Bell added 6 points and 3 rebounds.
Out of halftime, UMKC was again able to cut it to 6, the third time theyve gotten that close since the beginning of the game. A couple of buckets by Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz and one by Baxter-Bell would spurt a 6-0 Liberty run as the lead grew to 12 once again at 38-26 with 14:49 left in the game.
The run would balloon to 10-0 off a couple of turnovers by the Roos. Elijah Cuffee and Shiloh Robinson with the buckets to continue the spurt as the Kangaroos have gone over 5 minutes without a point. Robinsons bucket came on a beautiful post move, as the true freshman from Kearney, Nebraska continues to showcase more from his game. The Flames forced 7 UMKC turnovers during the scoreless stretch.
The run would end at 12-0, but the game was all but wrapped up at that point as the lead swelled to 20 points. Scottie James, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz, and Darius McGhee were the offensive firepower for Liberty during the stretch of play.
The Flames were paced by a balanced attack as has become the norm under McKay. Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz finished with a team-high 14 points while Scottie James added 12 and Darius McGhee had 10.
McKay has guided the Flames to an astounding 27-3 record over the teams previous 30 games dating back to Libertys win at UCLA.
Liberty returns to action on Friday in the Vines Center against Kentucky Christian with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.
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