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Turnovers Cost Flames Victory At Coastal Carolina

January 20, 2007
|  Conway, S.C.
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McLean collects eighth double-double in loss.

McLean collects eighth double-double in loss.

Despite winning nearly every statistical category, it was a season-high 25 turnovers that ended the Liberty Flames (7-12, 1-4 BSC) hopes as they drop their 21st- straight road game to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (11-7, 4-1 BSC) with the Chants holding a narrow 70-65 victory on Saturday afternoon Kimbel Arena.

The Flames out shot the Chanticleers from the field as Liberty hit on 51.0 percent on 25-of-49 shooting versus Coastal Carolina's 42.2 percent on 27-of-64 shooting. The Flames shot better from three-point range (44.4 percent versus 14.3 percent) and outrebounded the Chanticleers (36 to 33).

The Flames started hot, going on a 9-2 run capped by an Alex McLean lay-up with 14:45 left in the opening half. The Chanticleers came fighting back, going on a 6-0 run capped by a basket by Joseph Harris with 11:07 left in the half, trimming Liberty's lead to one point, 9-8.

Liberty scored the game's next four points, capped by a McLean basket with 9:28 left in the opening half, 13-8.

Coastal Carolina then turned on the burners, finishing up the half on a 20-4 run capped by a Jack Leasure runner with 24 seconds left, capitalizing on a Damien Hubbard turnover, making it a 28-17 Coastal Carolina advantage going into the half.

The Flames opened the second half on a 12-4 run capped by a Larry Blair jumper with 14:21, cutting Coastal Carolina's lead to three points, 32-29.

The Chanticleers took a hold and went on an 18-8 run capped by a basket by Harris with 6:58 left in the game, giving Coastal Carolina a 50-37 advantage.

The Flames made it interesting, cutting Coastal Carolina's lead to three points, 68-65, on an Anthony Smith three-point basket with four seconds left, but Liberty wasn't able to get a stop as Coastal got the ball up court and was able to score one more time at the buzzer when Harris laid it in to seal the 70-65 win.

The story at the end for the Flames was they were down by 11 points with 41 seconds remaining and were able to cut the lead to three points in a matter of 37 seconds. Blair hit a three-point basket with 33 seconds left. After Everage Richardson missed both free throws after a Blair foul, the Flames then got a four-point play with Blair hitting the first two free throws after being fouled on a three point attempt with 23 seconds left. Smith grabbed the rebound on the missed third attempt and put it back in to make it a 66-62 game with 19 seconds left.

Harris got behind the defense for a basket after the Flames almost got a 10 second call. Harris' bucket made it 68-62, setting up Smith's three point basket at the end to make it a three point game. But it wasn't enough as Coastal Carolina held on for the tight Big South victory.

The story of the game was the Flames' season high 25 turnovers, resulting in 25 points for Coastal Carolina. Blair led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting. With his performance against Coastal Carolina, Blair passed Mark Chafin for third all-time on the Liberty scoring list. Blair also became the third player in Big South history with 700 career field goals.

McLean collected his eighth double-double of the season and second straight as he finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Smith rounded out the top Flames with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Smith needs eight more points to be the 45th Flame to reach 500 career points.

Coastal Carolina was led by Harris who scored 18 points while Leasure chipped in 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Moses Sonko after being missing in action in the first half rounds out the top scorers with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

The Flames conclude their three-game road trip at Charleston Southern on Monday. Tip is set for 7 p.m.