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Flames Drop Road Game at Charleston Southern
A Liberty win would have given the Flames sole possession of third place in the Big South Conference, due to High Point's loss at Coastal Carolina earlier on Monday. Instead the Flames fall to 14-13 and 6-6 in Big South Conference play, dropping into a three-way tie for third place with High Point and Coastal Carolina. Charleston Southern improves to 9-17 and 3-8 in conference play.
Omar Carter's jumper from the corner at 16:51 helped Charleston Southern stake itself to an early 10-2 lead. Liberty quickly answered the Buccaneers' call with a 12-3 spurt, taking a 14-13 lead. Jeremy Anderson's trey from the wing at 13:15 capped the run.
Shawn Outen retook the lead for Charleston Southern, 15-14, with his bucket at 12:30. Liberty quickly snatched the lead away via an Anthony Smith three-point field goal at 12:12, giving the Flames a 17-15 advantage.
The Buccaneers regained the lead, 18-17, courtesy of a Chris Moore trey at 12:00. Each team traded the lead one more time each before Liberty stormed out to its largest lead of the half at five points, 30-25. After trailing by one point, 25-24, Anderson hit his second three-point field goal of the first stanza, followed by Alex McLean old-fashioned three-point play at 3:00.
Charleston Southern fought back with a 6-0 run of its own, capped by two makes from the charity stripe by Tovi Bailey, giving the Buccaneers its final lead of the first half, 31-30.
Liberty retook the lead going into the intermission, 34-31, courtesy of a Smith bucket at 1:33 and a McLean make with eight-tenths of a second left before the break.
Liberty connected on 50.0 percent (13-of-26) of its attempts from the floor, including 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from three-point range. Charleston Southern hit 40.0 percent (10-of-25) of its attempts, including 30.0 percent (3-of-10) from beyond the arc.
The start of the second half was a seesaw battle with Liberty holding a slight 11-9 advantage, increasing its lead to five points, 45-40. Smith's trey at 15:25 topped the run.
Jamarco Warren and Anderson traded three-point buckets to keep the Liberty advantage at five points, 48-43, at the 14:02 mark.
Charleston Southern then cut the Liberty advantage down to one point, 54-53, via an Omar Carter layup with 9:26 left. After a Kyle Ohman missed trey on Liberty's next possession, Charleston Southern reclaimed the lead, 56-54, after Chris Moore hit a three-point bucket with 7:54 left in the game.
The Buccaneers would never trail again as Charleston Southern extended its lead to eight points, 84-76, courtesy of two makes from the charity stripe by Omar Carter with 55 seconds left. Charleston Southern was able to hold on to the five point victory, 87-82, despite a late surge by the Flames.
Liberty finished the game connecting on 50.8 percent (32-of-63) of its shots, including 34.4 percent (11-of-32) of its three-point shots. Charleston Southern hit 45.0 percent (27-of-60) of its attempts, including 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from beyond the arc.
The Flames were led by Smith and TeeJay Bannister who each tallied 20 points. Bannister registered his first double-double in a Flame uniform, while dishing out a game-high 12 assists. Bannister also broke a Liberty Division I record for assists in a season, passing Marcus White (181) who set the mark during the 1997 season. Bannister now has 192 dimes on the year. McLean registered his 13th double-double of the season and 25th of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Charleston Southern was led by a pair of freshmen and a senior. Freshman Omar Carter scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Moore, a senior, tallied 22 points, while another freshman Warren chipped in 21 points.
Liberty returns to action on Friday when they travel to Longwood. The non-conference match-up is scheduled for 7 p.m., inside Willett Hall in Farmville, Va.