You’ve read the recap. Now, let’s go inside the numbers on Liberty’s battle with Navy.
- Liberty coach Ritchie McKay was quite matter-of-fact in his assessment of his post players’ performance tonight, and what we should expect to see from them the rest of the year. “Our posts aren’t gonna go 2-for-14 on most nights,” said McKay. “You’ve gotta be able to endure that, if you’re gonna be a program that continues to advance. To be a competitor In the league and postseason, you’ve gotta be able to deal with off nights offensively.”
To be fair, it was not just the posts that struggled (Myo Baxter-Bell and Scottie James each went 1-for-7 from the field). The remainder of the Flames’ shooters went 15-for-35 from the field. This resulted in the Flames and Midshipmen drawing level on points in the paint (20 apiece). Without Caleb Homesley in the lineup, the Flames were, at times, offensively stagnant, and the victim of good looks that wouldn’t fall, as McKay noted.
- The Liberty defense was, arguably, the MVP of the night. Liberty held Navy to a seemingly unbelievable four first-half field goals. We attempted to confirm whether or not this approached a Liberty record, but were unable to do so as of this writing. Liberty forced 12 Navy turnovers (compared to their committing just four), tallied seven steals, and blocked four shots. 14 of Navy’s 20 points in the paint we mentioned earlier came in the second half, as the Mids seemed to adjust their offense toward more paint touches and having more action directly toward the rim.
- Liberty’s suffocating perimeter defense also stifled Navy for much of the contest. The Mids finished 4-for-24 from distance, after a 1-for-17 start. One of those four made threes came off the hand of Cam Davis, and cut the Liberty lead to four with 2:16 to play. It could have very easily turned the tide, if not for…
- Liberty put away the game from the line. The Flames went 14-for-17 from the stripe, including 8-for-8 in the final 42 seconds of the game. Navy largely stayed in the game because of its prowess in getting to the line, going 16-for-22 in their trips.
- Liberty also suffered from the lack of Homesley’s presence on the boards. Though the fifth-year star averages six boards per game, which would not make up the diference between the sides (Navy outrebounded Liberty 41-27), he also frees other players to snag boards as the opposition tries to box him out.
- Despite the relatively low final score, Liberty still managed a point per possession, which seems incomprehensible when looking at the final box. The Flames turned the ball over just 7.3 percent of the time, and scored 43.6 percent of their trips down the floor. Navy hovered just behind, scoring .889 points per trip (40.7 percent of possessions), but its 22.7 percent turnover percentage was a concern.
- Points in the paint: Navy 20, Charlotte 20
- Points off turnovers: Liberty 12, Navy 2
- Second-chance points: Navy 7, Liberty 0
- Fast-break points: Navy 3, Liberty 3
- Bench points: Liberty 14, Navy 4
LIBERTY 55, NAVY 48
NAVY (2-2): L. Loehr 1-5 1-2 4, Wieck 2-3 0-0 4, Carter Jr. 2-11 6-6 10, Summers 2-5 6-10 10, Davis 5-14 3-4 16, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Njoku 1-1 0-0 2, Yoder 1-3 0-0 2, A. Loehr 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-44 16-22 48.
LIBERTY (5-0): Rode 2-7 0-1 4, James 1-7 0-0 2, McGhee 5-8 1-1 13, Cuffee 3-5 3-3 10, Pacheco-Ortiz 3-12 4-4 12, Baxter-Bell 1-7 6-8 8, Robinson 2-3 0-0 6, Preston 0-0 0-0 0, Reed 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 14-17 55.
Halftime — Liberty 24-15. 3-Point Goals—Navy 4-24 (L. Loehr 1-4, Carter Jr. 0-8, Davis 3-9, Nelson 0-1, Yoder 0-2), Liberty 7-22 (Rode 0-3, James 0-1, McGhee 2-5, Cuffee 1-2, Pacheco-Ortiz 2-7, Baxter-Bell 0-1, Robinson 2-3). Fouled Out — NA. Rebounds — Navy 41 (L. Loehr/Carter Jr./Summers 9), Liberty 27 (James 9). Assists —Liberty 8 (James 3), Navy 6 (Yoder 3). Total Fouls — Navy 14, Liberty 14. Technical — NA. A —4,010.