Flames Stun Bulldogs with Late Run; Deliver @ASUNMBB's Eighth NCAA Win

Flames Stun Bulldogs with Late Run; Deliver @ASUNMBB's Eighth NCAA Win

2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Caleb Homesley delivered a game-high 30 points as 12th-seeded Liberty defeated No. 5 Mississippi State, 80-76, in the NCAA Tournament First Round. It marked the first-ever NCAA win for the Flames and the eighth in the conference's history. With the victory, Liberty extended its program record for wins in a season to 29.

Liberty trailed by two at halftime as First Team All-Conference member Caleb Homesley led the team in scoring with eight points followed by six from Myo Baxter-Bell & Keenan Bumbs off the bench. The Flames shot 50 percent from the field on 13-of-26 including a 7-of-16 performance from deep. Seven different Flames tallied points in the opening half with Lovell Cabbil (5) and Scottie James (4) adding multiple field goals. Lamar Peters topped the scoring charts with 14 points for the Bulldogs, while Quinndary Weatherspoon chipped in 12.

Twenty-two of Homesley's 30 points came after the break as he shot 7-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-5 from deep to lead Liberty's comeback after trailing by as much as 10 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Trailing 67-59 with six minutes left, Liberty went on a 10-0 run to propel the Flames to victory. Homesley had eight points in the run with a dunk and two triples. Liberty outscored the Bulldogs, 45-39, after halftime. For the game, Liberty knocked down 12 triples with five coming in the second half.

Liberty was clutch at the free throw line down the stretch as the Flames converted their final six charity stripe attempts and eight of 10 in the final minute of action. Cabbil finished with 18 points to compliment Homesley's 30, while Baxter-Bell played a huge role off the bench with 13, four rebounds and four assists. Cabbil dished out five assists to tie for the game-high and collected two steals as well.

The Flames now advance to face the winner of No. 4 Virginia Tech & No. 13 Saint Louis. Mississippi State's season ends with a 23-11 record as Weatherspoon led them in scoring with 27 followed by 21 from Peters.

Liberty vs. Mississippi State NCAA Tournament Additional Notes
- ASUN programs have now posted five combined victories in the past seven tournaments and eight in the conference's history.
- Scottie James finished with six points and six rebounds. He sits with 306 rebounds on the season, which is the 22nd-highest total in league history.
- Homesley's 30 points were a career and season-high for the junior with his previous best total of 23 coming vs. Alabama on Dec. 18th this season.
- Liberty's No. 12 seed is the best for the ASUN Conference since the 2001 season when Georgia State advanced to the Second Round as an 11-seed.
- The Flames' win vs. Mississippi State was the first for the conference against an SEC team in the NCAA Tournament, snapping a four-game losing streak.
- ASUN teams are now 3-0 in postseason play as Liberty joined Lipscomb (NIT) and NJIT (CIT) with wins in postseason action.