Late run propels Liberty into the MBI title game with an 83-66 over Wichita State

CONWAY, S.C. (Nov. 17, 2023) – Liberty used a late 19-2 run to break open a close game and pull away for an 83-66 victory over Wichita State in the second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The victory puts the Flames (4-0) into the MBI championship game, where they will play Vermont at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday for the tournament title. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Liberty forward Kyle Rode scored a game-high 31 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 7-for-12 from 3-point range. During the game-clinching run, Rode and guard Brody Peeples had a stretch where they combined to score 13 points in less than 2½ minutes.

“Our guys play very unselfishly,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “If we can get string together some stops, eventually because of the way they share the ball, the points will usually come.”

The game shifted literally in five seconds. A 10-run by the Shockers (4-1) enabled them to cut a 12-point Liberty lead to two at 54-52 with 9:34 remaining. The momentum and a vocal Wichita crowd were on the Shockers’ side.

Then as the Shockers attempted to inbound the ball from underneath their own basket, Wichita guard Xavier Bell was called for a five-second violation. Liberty guard Kaden Metheny sank a 3-pointer 16 seconds later, kickstarting the 19-2 run that gave the Flames a commanding 73-54 lead with less than six minutes left.

“It’s their ability to make 3s,” Wichita coach Paul Mills said when asked how the game turned so quickly. “They just spread the court so well. They do a phenomenal job of knowing when to cut and how to cut. And then on defense, they did a really good job of pushing out our guys and forcing us to make one-on-one plays. Any time we turned our back, they were swarming us.”

Bell led the Shockers with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Colby Rogers added 16 points. But as a team, Wichita managed only three assists while committing 16 turnovers.