National Basketball Association
Liberty 61, Vanderbilt 56
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 14, 2019
Where: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tennessee
# Byron Jarrett, # Pat Adams, # John Hampton
Liberty remained unbeaten, going into Nashville and knocking off Vanderbilt 61-56 on Saturday night.
Vanderbilt, which had trouble solving the Flames' pack-line defense much of the night, had a span down the stretch of nearly 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal until guard Saben Lee got one in the final seconds.
Liberty guards Elijah Cuffee and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz each hit short field goals in the final minute to clinch the win for the Flames (12-0).
Forward Myo Baxter-Bell scored 18 points, guard Caleb Homesley added 14 and Cuffee netted 13 points in Liberty's typically-balanced scoring attack. Forward Scottie James had 11 rebounds, 10 in the first half.
Forward Aaron Nesmith scored 19 points and Lee followed with for the Commodores (6-3).
In a game of runs, Vanderbilt's 14-0 spurt spanning halftime put it up 35-28.
But the Commodores missed their next 10 from the field and Liberty regained the lead at 43-39 lead about midway through the second half before Nesmith snapped that drought with a drive and dunk in traffic.
A few minutes later, Nesmith drove through traffic and converted a short runner and free throw with 7:04 left for a 44-43 Vanderbilt advantage.
Baxter-Bell owned the next two minutes, scoring six points by backing down defenders for a pair of lay-ups and a dunk to put the Flames up by three.
Nesmith's two free throws with 3:58 left put Vanderbilt up again. But the Commodores couldn't convert enough field goals from there to keep that lead.
In the game's opening minutes, a 14-2 spurt vaulted Vanderbilt to a 17-8 lead. Liberty had trouble finding an offensive flow early against the Commodores' tight man-to-man defense, turning it over six times and going 3-of-12 from the field in that span.
Liberty punched back, hitting a 3-pointer on three straight possessions, with Homesley hitting his second in that span, to give the Flames the lead with less than five minutes in the half. Pacheco-Ortiz hit two free throws with 3:13 before halftime to make it 27-21.
Lee's trey at 1:13 tied the game, and one from Nesmith 38 seconds left vaulted the Commodores ahead again. Lee threw down a spectacular two-handed dunk off a 25-foot feed from Scotty Pippen Jr. to beat the buzzer and give the Commodores a 32-27 lead.
It was the first time Liberty has trailed at half this year.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Myo Baxter-Bell 18
Aaron Nesmith 19
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz 5
Scotty Pippen Jr. 6
Scottie James 11
Dylan Disu 7
Myo Baxter-Bell 8
||Free Throws Made
Aaron Nesmith 5
Kyle Rode 2
Maxwell Evans 2
Elijah Cuffee 1
Clevon Brown 3
Team Stats Summary