Baxter-Bell scored Liberty’s last five points of the first half to extend a 27-26 lead to 32-28. Then he had 10 points in a six-minute span in the second half, helping break open a 46-46 game and giving the Flames a 61-49 lead with 4:43 to play.
“Myo’s such a difficult matchup on the offensive end,” Liberty coach Ritchie McKay said. “He’s so physically strong.”
Baxter-Bell, who played his first two seasons at Lakota East before transferring to CJ, committed to Liberty in April 2015, choosing the Flames over another Virginia school: Radford. He redshirted as a freshman in the 2015-16 season. That was the plan when he committed.
Liberty was 8-24 the season before Baxter-Bell arrived and has improved its win total every season since. It was 13-19 the season he sat out, 21-14 in 2016-17 when he started 28 games and averaged 7.9 points, 22-15 the next season and 29-7 last season.
The Flames returned to the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2013. They upset No. 5 seed Mississippi State for their first NCAA tournament victory. Baxter-Bell scored 13 points.
Big things were expected at Liberty this season. It returned four starters and was picked to win the Atlantic Sun Conference championship. Now it is off to the best start in school history. No Liberty team had ever started better than 6-0 before this season.
“It’s about having fun and building memories,” Baxter-Bell said. “We want to do something that’s bigger than ourselves. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Baxter-Bell has scored 752 points in his career and ranks 41st in school history. He’s tied for 44th in rebounds with 331.
Asked to sum up his career to this point, Baxter-Bell said, “It’s been a long way. It’s been quick looking back on it, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed the place I picked to play. I’m really excited.”