CCU drops heartbreaker to Liberty, 62-61

Flames beat CCU late, win 62-61

Courtesy: CCU Athletics

CONWAY – Liberty's John Dawson hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining and Coastal Carolina's Shivaughn Wiggins was unable to convert a difficult layup on the game's final possession as the visiting Flames pulled off a 62-61 of the Chanticleers Wednesday evening at the HTC Center.

Coastal (8-7, 2-3 Big South) took a 61-59 lead on Elijah Wilson's basket with 40 seconds to go, but the night's heroics belonged to Liberty's Dawson as he came off a screen at the top of the arc and buried the game-winning 3-pointer.

Dawson led Liberty (4-13, 1-4 Big South) with 18 points on seven made shots, including three second-half 3-pointers. Caleb Homesley scored 12 for the Flames, while Lovell Cabbil added 11. Liberty, which counted 12 of its 24 makes from 3-point range, closed the contest shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and racked up 10 steals.

Wilson paced Coastal with 15 points on seven makes to go along with a game-high eight rebounds. Tristian Curtis and Jaylen Shaw were CCU's second-leading scorers with nine, each while Wiggins dished out a game-high seven assists. The Chants shot 46.9 percent on the evening and outrebounded the Flames 35-26.

Coastal quickly doubled its five-point halftime lead to 10 at 38-28 as Wiggins made the team's sixth 3-pointer of the evening. However, the double-digit lead would not last long as Liberty's Anthony Fields and Cabbil made threes of their own and Ezra Talbert scored on a jumper, cutting CCU's lead to 40-36 at the 15 minute mark.

Liberty kept the game within two possession over the next three minutes until Ron Trapps made his second trey of the game, giving the Chants a little breathing room and a 45-38 lead. The three-possession lead would not last long as LU's Fields made another three.

With Coastal leading 52-47, Liberty emerged from the under-4 media timeout and immediately found Caleb Maxwell inside and the big man converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to pull the visitors with two points at 52-50. The Flame's next trip down the floor produced their first lead of the game as Fields made his third 3-pointer of the game.

Wilson, who had not scored since the 12:40 mark of the first half, answered with a tough basket in the lane to reestablish a slim 54-53 Chanticleer lead. A Curtis free throw followed by an offensive rebound and a Shaw baseline jumper pushed Coastal's lead to 57-53.

Wilson scored twice more in the lane, but Liberty closed the game with four 3-pointers to upset the Chants.

Wilson scored nine of the Chants first 12 points, staking the home team an early 12-9 advantage. A 15-10 run expanded the Chants lead to 27-19 on a Diagne layup at the 7:14 mark. Liberty went on to outscore the Chants 7-4 throughout the remainder of the period, sending the teams into the intermission with Coastal holding a 31-26 lead.

Coastal heads north to the Old Dominion state to take on conference foe Longwood on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. and can be viewed live on the Big South Network.