LSU hands Liberty its first defeat, 74-57

NCAA Men's Basketball
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)Darius Days scored 14 points to lead a balanced LSU attack as the Tigers defeated previously unbeaten Liberty 74-57 Sunday.

Liberty (14-1) had built its unbeaten record based on the second-best scoring defense (51.6 points-per-game) and sixth-best field-goal defense percentage (35.6) in the country.

But LSU (8-4) exceeded the Flames’ defensive norm by 21 points and shot 53.3 percent from the field.

LSU led 32-26 at halftime and went on a 20-6 run midway through the second half to break things open.

Liberty was able to get within 10 points only once after that.

Caleb Homesley and Darius McGhee had 12 points each to lead Liberty.

Liberty’s defeat left No. 8 Auburn and No. 15 San Diego State as the only remaining unbeatens heading into 2020.

BIG PICTURE

Liberty: The Flames’ dreams of a perfect regular season are over. But they’re still the overwhelming favorite in the American Sun Conference where none of the league’s other eight teams have a winning record.

LSU: The Tigers needed this one, especially after losing at home to East Tennessee State, their first nonconference home defeat since 2017, and then by two points on the road against Southern Cal. This may not be the caliber of team that won last year’s SEC title, but at least there’s a little momentum going into league play.

UP NEXT

Liberty: The Flames haven’t played at home since Dec. 2, and they won’t until Jan. 9 since they open conference play Thursday at Florida Gulf Coast followed by a Saturday trip to NJIT. That will complete a seven-game road trip that saw them play in six states and travel 9,035 miles.

LSU: The Tigers open defense of their Southeastern Conference championship Saturday at Tennessee.

For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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