Liberty held CSU to 31 percent shooting and rode the hot hand of sophomore point guard Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz to pull away from the Bucs for a 70-53 win Tuesday at the Vines Center.
Pacheco-Ortiz scored a game-high 27 points on just nine shots, burying 7-of-8 tries from three-point range, to power Liberty (10-5, 1-0 Big South). The Flames, who led the Big South and ranked top-25 nationally in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense entering play, frustrated CSU (6-7, 1-1 Big South) for much of the night. Liberty also controlled the glass, 38-24, in a matchup of the league’s top-two rebounding teams. Scottie James led that cause for the Flames with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Despite its struggles, CSU trailed by just a point near the 12-minute mark of the second half courtesy of an 8-0 spurt. The Bucs had two chances to move in front but came up empty on both possessions and the Flames rattled off a 11-0 run to create distance.
Freshman Jamaal David paced CSU with a career-high 11 points and Christian Keeling and Travis McConico added 10 apiece. Although Liberty shot 50 percent overall and 13-of-21 from downtown, the Bucs were able to force 22 turnovers and register ten steals.
CSU will return to action Saturday at High Point. Tipoff at the Millis Center is set for 7 p.m.