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Gillis' 20-Point Performance Moves Coastal Past Liberty
Looking to get back into the win column, the Liberty men's basketball team hosted defending Big South champion Coastal Carolina, Saturday night. Guided by leading scorer Warren Gillis' 20-point effort, the Chanticleers used a 13-0 run to pull away in the first half and did not look back en route to the 69-54 victory.
Along with Gillis, Josh Cameron finished with 12 points for Coastal Carolina, followed by Elijah Wilson, who had 11 points.
The Flames shot 20-of-61 (32.8 percent) from the field, compared to 21-of-57 (36.8 percent) for the Chanticleers. Coastal Carolina edged Liberty in the paint, 22-20, but outscored Liberty from three-point land, 27-12.
Liberty falls to 6-11 on the season, beginning the conference slate 0-4 for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Coastal Carolina improves to 13-3 and remains undefeated in Big South action at 4-0.
The Flames were without point guard Joe Retic in the contest, as he is out indefinitely due to a fractured left foot.
Coastal Carolina took a 6-2 lead early thanks to a pair of Elijah Wilson three-pointers. Liberty later cut the deficit to one courtesy of a Peter Moller three-pointer. Following a Chanticleers free throw, Smith knotted the contest, 11-11, with a layup at 13:48.
The three-pointers continued to fly with Gillis knocking down a trey to regain the lead for Coastal Carolina. A.C. Reid helped the Flames respond with two downtown jumpers to put the Flames ahead. After Wilson knotted the contest with his third three-pointer of the game, Ethan Layer connected with one of his own, giving Liberty a 20-17 lead at 10:26.
Liberty went scoreless for the ensuing 7:47, allowing Coastal Carolina to go on a 13-0 run. Moller broke up the scoring drought with a jumper at 2:39, making it 30-22 in favor of the Chanticleers. Coastal Carolina went into the locker room at halftime owning a 35-24 lead.
The Chanticleers shot 41.9 percent (13-of-31) in the first half, including 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from three-point land. Liberty went 10-of-31 (32.3 percent) from the field, hitting 4-of-12 shots (33.3 percent) from downtown.
Gillis led Coastal Carolina with 15 points, followed by Wilson, who had 11 tallies. Reid paced the Flames with six points on the first half.
Coastal Carolina continued to pull away in the second period. Liberty got within 10 of the Chanticleers with 15:11 remaining, when Theo Johnson knocked down a jumper. The visitors widened the gap to 20 points over the next 10 minutes, as Cameron connected on a layup to make it 59-39, with 5:06 on the clock.
Liberty climbed within 15 points of the Chanticleers, but could not get any closer in the 69-54 decision.
The Flames hit the road again on Wednesday, squaring off with Charleston Southern. Tipoff inside the Buc Dome is slated for 7:30 p.m.