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Stanford beats Liberty, spoils Darius McGhee’s 41-point game

December 23, 2021 GMT
Stanford forward Spencer Jones (14) brings the ball up as Liberty guard Joseph Venzant (23) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
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Stanford forward Spencer Jones (14) brings the ball up as Liberty guard Joseph Venzant (23) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
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Stanford forward Spencer Jones (14) brings the ball up as Liberty guard Joseph Venzant (23) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

HONOLULU (AP) — Spencer Jones scored a career-high 25 points, Brandon Angel scored 10 of his 17 points in the final nine minutes and Stanford beat Liberty 79-76 on Thursday in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, spoiling Darius McGhee’s 41-point performance.

McGhee tied the tournament scoring record set by BYU’s Chase Fischer in the 2015-16 season. McGhee entered ranked 28th in the nation by averaging 19.8 points per game, and he was 13-of-28 shooting with seven 3-pointers against Stanford. No other player for Liberty (8-5) scored more than six points.

Stanford was ahead 76-67 with 41 seconds left before McGhee scored eight of the final 12 points. Angel made 1 of 2 free throws to give Stanford a three-point lead with 6.8 seconds left. After a timeout, Stanford fouled McGhee near midcourt and he made two free throws at 4.3.

Stanford freshman Harrison Ingram made two free throws to regain a three-point advantage. Liberty wasn’t able to get the ball to McGhee, and Keegan McDowell turned it over near midcourt at the final buzzer.

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Jones, averaging 7.7 points per game, was 8 of 11 from the field with five 3-pointers to top his previous high of 18 points for Stanford (8-4).

McGhee and Jones were the only two in double figures until 8:18 remaining in the game when Angel sank a 3-pointer to give Stanford a 57-55 lead.

In the first half, Stanford trailed by as many as 13 points before closing on an 18-6 run over the final four minutes. Michael O’Connell highlighted the first half by sinking a half-court shot at the buzzer to tie it at 36. Liberty only made three field goals in the final six minutes, going 3 for 11.

Stanford advances to the championship game on Saturday.

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