LYNCHBURG, Va.-Georgia State could not overcome 12.5 percent shooting from 3-point range and fell to Liberty 78-52 on Saturday evening at the Vines Center. D’Marcus Simonds led the Panthers with 22 points.
Liberty (7-1) shot 51.9 percent from the floor including 16-of-27 in the second half as Elijah Cuffee and Caleb Homesley each scored 19 points to lead the Flames.
Georgia State (5-3) was held to 40.0 percent shooting and was outrebounded 41-21, while the Flames shot 13-of-25 from 3-point range.
Simonds finished 8-of-18 from the floor, dished out five assists and swiped three steals for the Panthers.
“We may have lost to a good ball club, but we also did not play Georgia State basketball tonight,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We have got to have balance when it comes to scoring and we did not have that tonight. Even if we don’t shoot the 3-pointer well, there are still other things we can do to compete and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Liberty took an early 14-7 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the opening half as Georgia State was held without a field goal for more than five minutes. The Panthers missed 12 of their first 16 shots before shooting 69.2 percent the remainder of the half.
Trailing 20-11, Georgia State used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to just two with 5:22 to play and on a lay-up by Simonds tied the game 24-24 with just under two minutes to play.
Liberty went into the locker room leading 32-29 despite eight turnovers which led to 10 Georgia State points.
The Flames knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half and pushed the lead into double figures, 42-31, with 17:30 to play.
After trailing by as many as 16 points, Georgia State got as close as 12 points on a Simonds lay-up with 9:53 to play, but that was as close as the Panthers could get.
Sophomore Kane Williams added nine points, while senior Malik Benlevi score eight. Senior Devin Mitchell returned after missing the first seven games, but was held scoreless in 12 minutes on 0-of-5 shooting 2dfg.
Scottie James just missed a double-double with eight points and 17 rebounds for Liberty, while Keenan Gumbs also scored eight points.
Georgia State will close out its six game stretch away from home traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face Alabama on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. The game will air live on SECN+.