KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Liberty went toe-to-toe against TCU in the Hall of Fame Classic Championship game, Sunday afternoon at the T-Mobile Center. The Flames had a chance to tie or win the ball game with one second left in the game but the Horned Frogs prevailed, 56-52. Liberty falls to 2-2 on the season, while TCU improves to 3-0. Liberty’s Darius McGhee and Chris Parker were named to the Hall of Fame Classic All-Tournament Team.
It was a slow start on offense for Liberty to start the game, as the Flames shot 1-7 to start the game, as TCU capitalized, taking a 12-3 lead early in the game. Midway through the first half, Liberty’s defense was able to settle in, holding TCU to a four minute and 43 second scoring draught to chip into the Horned Frogs’ lead (17-14) with six and half minutes left in half. Liberty was able to continue to shrink TCU’s nine-point lead, as the Horned Frogs ended the first half on a two-minute scoring draught. TCU went into the break with a 27-26 lead. Liberty’s Chris Parker led all scorers in the first half with nine points.
Both teams struggled on offense to start the half, combining to shoot 1-10 to start the half. Both teams went back-an-forth, as the ball game stayed within single digits. The Horned Frogs were able to jump out to a nine-point lead (45-36) with 7:49 left in the game. That provided enough cushion for TCU to come away with the win. Liberty continued to fight until the very end, as the Flames trailed by nine points (54-45) with 2:12 left in the game and the Flames cut TCU’s down to two points with 30 seconds left. The Flames had a chance to tie or take the lead with one second left but turned the ball over.
Key Stats & Notes
· Liberty’s made a season-low six three-pointers against TCU.
· Chris Parker scored a season-high 13 points.
· Darius McGhee matched a career-high nine rebounds.
· Elijah Cuffee moved up to No. 43 on Liberty’s all-time scoring list with 730 career points.
· Liberty held TCU to 40 percent (20-50) from the field while shooting 40.7 percent (21-55).
· McGhee led Liberty with 15 points.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
“We played against a really good TCU team, they deserve a lot of credit. They exposed some of the things we need to work on so ultimately that is good for us. Overall though I am really proud of our group; I thought our effort was sensational. I think we will grow a little bit more from this game.”
Liberty will return to Lynchburg as the team preps for its home opener in the brand new Liberty Arena. The Flames will face St. Francis (Pa.) on Thursday, Dec. 3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.