Liberty gets hot, defeats FGCU 81-63 in A-Sun debut

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Darius McGhee scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and Liberty made its debut in the Atlantic Sun Conference by making six straight 3s and 14 overall to defeat defending league champion Florida Gulf Coast 81-63 on Saturday night.

The Flames (12-4), coming off a 73-58 win over UCLA a week earlier that proved to be the last game for Bruins coach Steve Alford, were up 54-50 when they got hot.

Elijah Cuffee hit a 3, Liberty’s fourth-straight make, to push the lead to 57-50. After the Eagles missed, Liberty missed but turned an offensive rebound into a Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz 3. Cuffee’s next 3 capped a 9-0 burst but the Flames went on to drain seven consecutive shots for a 75-54 lead with 6:39 to go.

Liberty finished the second half 18 of 26 from the field (69 percent), 8 of 12 behind the arc. For the game shot was 57 percent (31 of 54), 14 of 28 from distance.

The Eagles (5-11), the defending conference champs, shot 50 percent but couldn’t keep pace with the Flames. Schadrac Casimir had 16 points.