LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) Kyle Rode's 19 points helped Liberty defeat Florida International 78-69 on Thursday night.

Rode had eight rebounds and five assists for the Flames (12-7, 1-3 Conference USA). Kaden Metheny added 18 points while going 6 of 12 (6 for 10 from 3-point range), and he also had six assists. Brody Peebles had 12 points and shot 4 for 9 (2 for 6 from 3-point range) and 2 of 3 from the free throw line.

Javaunte Hawkins led the Panthers (7-12, 2-2) in scoring, finishing with 24 points. Arturo Dean added 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals for Florida International. Seth Pinkney also had eight points.

Liberty took the lead with 5:59 to go in the first half and did not relinquish it. The score was 36-29 at halftime, with Metheny racking up nine points. Rode scored a team-high 10 points after halftime.


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