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Chanticleers Down Flames To Hand Liberty Sixth-Straight Conference Loss
The Chanticleers placed four out of five starters in double figures en route to a 72-60 Big South Conference victory, Saturday afternoon, at Kimbel Arena.
With the victory, Coastal Carolina raises its record to 10-9 on the year and evens its conference record at 4-4. The loss drops Liberty's record to 4-15 on the year and 1-6 in league play and marks the Flames' sixth-straight loss against a conference opponent which is the third longest conference losing streak in school history.
The contest was a back-and-forth battle over the first 13 minutes of play with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage during the opening stretch as a lay-up by Pele Paeley gave the Chanticleers a four-point lead, 17-13, with 11:56 left to play.
However, the Flames scored six-straight points on a pair of free throws and a jumper by Rell Porter (So., F, Pittsburg, Texas) and a lay-up by Russell Monroe (So., C, Alma, Mich.), giving Liberty a 19-17 lead at the 9:41 mark.
Coastal Carolina answered back as the Chanticleers put together their own 6-0 run and regained a four-point lead, 23-19, after a pair of Jack Leasure free throws at the 7:12 mark.
Liberty was able to cut the lead in half after Evan Risher (So., G, Fort Worth, Texas) nailed two free throws on the next possession, but that would be as close as Liberty would get during the rest of the half as the Chanticleers scored nine of the next 12 points to open up an eight-point lead, 32-24 on a pair of Moses Sonko free throws with 4:35 left before intermission.
The Chanticleers pushed their lead to as much as 10 points before the buzzer sound at the half with Coastal Carolina leading by nine, 39-30, at the break, thanks in part to 50.0 percent shooting from the field (12-of-24), while holding Liberty to just 36.4 percent from the field (8-of-22).
The Chanticleers slowly pushed their lead to double digits as Joseph Harris took a pass from Colin Stevens at the 16:11 mark to take a 45-34 lead. Coastal Carolina's advantage continued to hover around double figures until Liberty put together a 9-1 run late in the second half and pulled within five points, 60-55, at the 5:02 mark on a Larry Blair (Jr., G, Charlotte, N.C.) three-pointer, but Coastal Carolina scored six straight to push its lead back to 11 points and to seal its fourth conference victory of the year.
Paelay led Coastal Carolina's four double-digit scorers with 17 points, while Sonko followed with his second-straight double-double as the forward had 16 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Leasure added 13 points on three three-point field goals, while Harris scored 12 points and recorded nine rebounds with 10 points and five boards coming in the second half.
Blair posted his third-straight 20-point game as the junior scored 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 shooting from the free throw line. Risher came off the bench to net a season-best 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range and 4-of-6 from the free throw line, while adding a team-high three assists.
The Flames will close out a three-game road swing and five out of the last six on the road on Monday when they travel to Charleston, S.C. to face the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Buc Dome.