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Buccaneers' 17 3-Pointers Seal Flames' Fate

January 14, 2015
|  Charleston, S.C.
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Andrew Smith

The Liberty men's basketball team stepped into the Buc Dome, Wednesday night, looking for its first conference win of the season. Unfortunately for the Flames, Saah Nimley was hot from three-point range, hitting seven treys and finishing with a career-high 30 points to lead Charleston Southern to an 80-58 victory.

Liberty falls to 6-12 on the year and 0-5 in Big South play following the road setback. The Buccaneers improve to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in conference action.

Freshman Peter Moller, who has taken over the point guard duties in the absence of Joe Retic, led Liberty with 14 points. David Andoh posted 12 points, while Theo Johnson and Andrew Smith each had 10 points. Johnson garnered a double-double with a season-high 10 rebounds. Smith grabbed eight boards.

Along with Nimley, Will Saunders also knocked down seven three-pointers, finishing with 22 points. The Buccaneers drained 17 three-pointers on the night, the most allowed by a Liberty team since Iona posted 18 on Dec. 18, 2012.

Charleston Southern shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62), including 47.2 percent (17-of-36) from long distance. Liberty finished with 43.5 percent shooting (20-of-46). In addition to its long range shooting, the Buccaneers recorded 32 points off Liberty's 22 turnovers.

Charleston Southern jumped out to a 14-3 lead early, with its first 11 points coming from Nimley. Liberty answered with a 7-0 run capped by a thunderous jam from Andrew Smith to make it 14-10 at 12:27.

The Buccaneers took a 10-point lead at the 9:40 mark after a Saunders' trey. Liberty once again chipped away at the deficit with six straight points. Following a Charleston Southern basket, Moller drained a three-pointer to pull the Flames within three, 24-21, at 3:52.

Charleston Southern regained an 11-point lead during the next 1:37, as Nimley cemented an 8-0 run with his fourth three-pointer of the game. The Flames managed to cut it back to single digits before halftime, with a pair of Moller free throws putting the Flames within eight, 34-26, at the intermission.

Liberty shot 36.4 percent (8-of-22), including 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from three-point land during the first 20 minutes of play.

Charleston Southern concluded the opening half shooting 31.3 percent (10-of-32), knocking down 7-of-20 (35.0 percent) from downtown. The Flames committed 13 turnovers during the first half, allowing the Buccaneers to convert Liberty's miscues into 15 points.

Nimley led all scorers with 19 points. Moller paced the Flames' offense with 10 tallies, followed by Kemrite, who chipped in nine.

In the second half, Liberty made it a three-point game with 16:12 remaining thanks to a Smith layup. However, the Buccaneers pulled away once again with the help of five three-pointers. A 17-4 run allowed the home team to take a 52-36 lead at 12:21.

With Liberty down 13 at 7:58, Charleston Southern proceeded to go on a 12-0 run, which concluded with a Nimley three-pointer to put the Buccaneers ahead, 69-44, with 5:10 left.

Nimley hit his seventh and final three-pointer with 4:18 remaining to cap his scoring at 30 points en route to the 80-58 final.

Liberty remains on the road, Saturday, squaring off with Longwood inside Willett Hall. The Flames are looking for their first-ever win inside the facility where they are 0-13 against the Lancers. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.