Charleston Southern edges Liberty to stay unbeaten in Big South play
For the first time since 2006, Charleston Southern notched a win at Liberty’s Vines Center, defeating the Flames, 79-75, in Big South Conference action on Saturday night in Lynchburg, Va.
Saah Nimley scored 23 points and Arlon Harper added 14 to pace the Buccaneers to their eighth straight win.
CSU (12-6, 7-0) remained perfect in Big South Conference play, winning for the 11th time in their last 12 games. The Buccaneers have four road wins in league play and five overall.
The Flames (6-15, 2-5) were led by Davon Marshall, who hit seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points.
“It took all we had, but we found a way to win in the end,” said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. “It wasn’t pretty. We didn’t shoot the ball very well, took some bad shots. But we found a way to win on the road in a league game, and that’s a big deal. And we had not won here in a long time. We really showed some poise down the stretch.”
Aside from the dynamic duo of Nimley and Harper, who also combined for 18 rebounds, the Bucs got 14 points each from Jeremy Sexton and Mathiang Muo. Allie Fullah added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“This was very much a team win,” said Radebaugh. “I thought Allie’s play was really big tonight. The blocks were key. He blocked a few layups that could have resulted in points, and that was probably the difference in the game.”
After a back-and-forth first half, the Bucs led 41-38 at the break, shooting 48.6 percent from the field. The Bucs cooled a bit in the second half but managed to open up a 62-53 lead with 11:52 to play in the game on a Nimley 3-pointer.
Liberty rallied to within 70-66, but the Bucs again opened up an eight-point lead at 74-66 with 6:19 to play. The Flames, however, would not go away. Joel Vander Pol’s tip-in cut the lead to 74-72 with 4:55 to play, and John Caleb Sanders tied the game at 74 with four minutes to play.
Sexton gave CSU a 76-74 lead with two free throws with 2:53 to play. Liberty’s J.R. Coronodo made one of two free throws with 1:31 remaining.
Paul Gombwer and Fullah each made a free throw in the final 40 seconds and CSU had a pair of solid defensive stands to seal the win.
“If that’s a 6-15 team, I don’t want to play any more 6-15 teams,” said Radebaugh. “They deserve a lot of credit. They played very hard and competed from the opening tip to the last shot.”
CSU will host Gardner-Webb on Wednesday night.