December 30, 2018 / 1:40 AM / 5 months ago

Liberty manhandles struggling UCLA

Junior guard Caleb Homesley scored 21 points and senior guard Lovell Cabbil Jr. added 15 as visiting Liberty cruised to a 73-58 nonconference victory Saturday over UCLA, beating a Pac-12 Conference opponent for the first time.

Liberty (11-4) used an 11-0 run between the end of the first half and the start of the second half to gain control and frustrate a sloppy UCLA team that committed 24 turnovers.

Sophomore guard Kris Wilkes scored 14 points, 11 in the second half for the Bruins (7-6), who also lost on their own floor to Belmont this season. UCLA has lost four consecutive games.

Liberty took a 23-22 lead with 5:51 remaining in the first half on a 3-pointer by freshman guard Darius McGhee and never trailed again, ending the first half with a 17-6 advantage for a 34-26 lead. UCLA tied a season low for first-half points.

Trailing by double digits most of the second half, UCLA cut the Liberty lead to six points at 56-50 before Homesley hit a 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining. It started a 7-0 Liberty run and the Flames held on easily from there.

Liberty entered with a defense that had given up just 61.5 points per game, 16th best in the country, and held the Bruins to 20-of-51 shooting (39.2 percent), including 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) from 3-point range.

Liberty took advantage of UCLA’s inability to take care of the ball, holding a 32-7 advantage in points off turnovers.

UCLA’s sophomore starting guard duo of Wilkes and Jalen Hands had a combined three points in the first half on 1-of-8 shooting. Hands did not register his first points until making a 3-pointer with 8:42 remaining and finished with eight points.

Freshman center Moses Brown scored 11 points, all in the first half for UCLA.

UCLA used its significant size advantage to outrebound Liberty 44-27, but the Flames led 34-28 in points in the paint.

Liberty, which rebounded from a defeat to Austin Peay in the St. Pete Shootout, tied a school record for most victories during the nonconference portion of their schedule. They are now 1-2 all-time against Pac-12 teams.

Liberty will open Atlantic Sun Conference play next on Jan. 5 at Florida Gulf Coast. UCLA will limp into Pac-12 play on Thursday at home against Stanford.

—Field Level Media

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