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Flames Bounce Back Strong In Win Over Charleston Southern, 83-73
After dropping a heartbreaker at first place Winthrop on Tuesday night, the Liberty Flames continue to stay alive in the hunt for third place as they defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center, 83-73.
The Flames fourth-straight home win moved Liberty to 12-13 on the season and 6-5 in Big South play. After a three-game winning streak for Charleston Southern, the Buccaneers dropped their second-straight bringing their record to 8-18 and 2-9 in Big South action.
The Flames made their first six shots as part of a 19-9 run to open the game which was capped by an Anthony Smith three-point basket at the top of the key with 13:58 left in the opening period. Of the first 10 points the Flames scored were six by Rell Porter and four by Russell Monroe.
The Buccaneers then took a 27-25 lead on the heels of an 18-6 run capped off by a Donnell Covington three-point basket from the top of the key at the 7:57 mark.
The Flames went into the break with a four-point lead, 39-35, thanks in part to a 14-8 run capped by back-to-back Dwight Brewington baskets.
Both teams were hot from the field as Liberty shot 57.1 percent on 16-of-28 shooting, including 50.0 percent from three-point range on 5-of-10 shooting. Charleston Southern was equally impressive, hitting 50.0 percent of its shots on 14-of-28 shooting.
The Flames started the second half on an 8-3 run to extend their lead to 47-38 on a rebound and put back by Blair with 16:53 remaining in the game.
Liberty continued to extend its lead to 63-46, powered by a 16-8 run which was capped by back-to-back Brewington buckets with the latter coming with 8:04 left in the game.
The Buccaneers held a slight 26-20 advantage over the remaining eight minutes, but the Flames held control the entire second half and Dominique Jones two free throws with 1:43 left in the game put Liberty up 83-70. The Buccaneers were able to put three more points on the board via free throws, but it wasn't enough as Liberty picked up its second-straight win over Charleston Southern, sweeping the season series.
It was the first time since the 2004-05 season that Liberty has swept a conference season series when they swept Birmingham Southern, Coastal Carolina, UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers of Charleston Southern later upset the Flames in the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship.
Blair tallied double figures in his 46th-straight game as he scored 18 points, dished six assists, grabbed four rebounds and snared two steals. Brewington was perfect from the field, scoring 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes of action. Smith rounds out the top scorers with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
The Flames finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor on 28-of-56 shooting. The game served as the fourth-straight home game which the Flames shot over 50 percent for the game. Two of those games Liberty topped the 60 percent mark from the floor.
Charleston Southern had four players score in double figures led by Dwayne Jackson who scored 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Terrence Greir scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting while Giedruius Knysas and Covington each scored 11 points a piece in the loss. Knysas grabbed a team-high seven rebounds while dishing three assists.
The Buccaneers are back in action on Wednesday when the travel to Rock Hill, S.C., to take on first-place Winthrop. Start time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Flames return to the hardwood on Monday night when Coastal Carolina comes to the Vines Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. for "Senior Night".