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Blair's Career Night Spoiled By Coastal Carolina's Buzzer Beater Win
With the win Coastal Carolina moves to 14-12 on the season and takes sole possession of third place in the Big South with a 7-5 record, breaking a tie with Liberty. The Flames fall to 12-14 on the season and 6-6 in Big South play dropping them to fourth place.
Liberty started out on an 11-5 run finished off by Blair's fourth basket of the game at the 16:09 mark.
The Chanticleers then went on a 28-12 run to take a 32-23 lead when Adrian Gross scored in transition with 5:33 left in the opening period.
The Flames cut the lead at halftime to 39-37 on the heels of a 14-6 run capped by back-to-back Blair buckets, giving him 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the first half of play.
Both teams were hot from the field as Coastal Carolina edged the Flames 51.5 (17-of-31) percent to 50.0 percent (15-of-30).
The second half was near deadlocked with both teams going back and forth for the entire 20 minutes. There were eight ties and 10 lead changes in period. With 1:37 left and down by one, Blair hit both his free-throws to put the Flames up 76-74.
The Chanticleer's Logan Smith missed a jumper with 1:24 left and fouled Anthony Smith, who grabbed the rebound, with 1:20. After Smith missed the first end of the one and one, Moses Sonko grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Alex McLean. Sonko made the back end of two free throws in the double bonus to cut the Flames lead to 76-75 with 55 seconds left.
As the Flames ran the shot clock down, Blair missed a three-point basket from the top of the key. Joshua Mack grabbed the rebound. After Rell Porter knocked the ball out of bounds with 6.9 seconds left, the Chanticleers Jack Leasure had his inbound pass tipped and stolen by Smith.
The Liberty guard was then fouled with 6.1 seconds left by Joseph Harris. Smith missed the first end of the one and one for the second time in less then 60 seconds on the game clock. Harris grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to Mack who went the length of the court and laid it in with 0.2 second left to escape with the 77-76 victory over the Flames.
Blair had a big night in his final scheduled home game of his illustrious career. The senior scored his career-high 40 points on 17-of-25 shooting, to go with five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Blair's 17 field goals were a career-high and a Vines Center record as he broke his own record of 13 field goals. He accomplished the feat twice last year against Winthrop and High Point.
Blair's effort served as his 100th career game in which he scored double-figures and his 47th straight double-figure game.
McLean chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds for the Flames.
Leasure led Coastal Carolina with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting while dishing out four assists. Sonko scored 14 points and Mack chipped in 13 points, including the game winner.
Both teams shot well from the floor as each shot better then 50 percent for the contest with the Flames edging Coastal Carolina 51.7 percent (30-of-58) to 50.0 percent (30-60). The difference served Coastal Carolina as they hit 45.0 percent from three-point range on 9-of-20 shooting against Liberty's 22.2 percent on 4-of-18 shooting.
Liberty held the edge in rebounding with a 34 to 29 margin, but it wasn't enough as the Flames drop their third home game of the season to fall to 11-3 at the their Vines Center.
Coastal Carolina returns home on Saturday to take on Canisius as part of ESPNU's BracketBusters weekend. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Kimbel Arena.
Liberty returns to action on Thursday when they travel to Longwood to conclude the season series with the Lancers. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at Willett Hall.