CSU 81, Liberty 76
Lynchburg, Va. -- Freshman point guard Saah Nimley scored 23 points, converting 15 of 17 free-throw attempts, to pace Charleston Southern to an 81-76 victory Saturday over Liberty in a Big South Conference game.
Nimley paced four players in double figures as junior forward Mathiang Muo added 17 points, and senior forward Kelvin Martin scored 16 while pulling down 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Arlon Harper scored 12 points, as the Buccaneers shot 48.1 percent from the field for the game.
"We played pretty well for most of the game, but we missed some free throws late to give them a chance," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "Overall, it's a big win, a great way to end 2011. We haven't had a lot of success up here in the past, so to get to 3-0 in the league with a hard-fought win is a great thing for our confidence. Road wins don't come easy in the Big South, so we certainly will enjoy this."
Charleston Southern (9-4, 3-0) held off several challenges from the Flames during the second half but never relinquished the lead.
After taking the lead for good on back-to-back 3-pointers by Muo with six minutes left in the first half, the Buccaneers held a 44-38 edge at the break.
Liberty trimmed the margin to one on three occasions early in the second half, the last coming with 16:08 to play at 48-47.
Clinging to a 62-59 advantage, Charleston Southern reeled off a 9-1 run, with Muo's basket giving the Buccaneers a 71-60 advantage with 4:51 to play.
CSU missed several opportunities to put the game away with poor free-throw shooting, and Liberty cut the margin to four points with under a minute to play. Nimley, however, sealed the victory with four made free throws. Aside from Nimley's prowess at the line, the Buccaneers were 10 of 20 from the stripe.
CSU stays on the road for a game at High Point (4-7, 0-1) on Monday night.