Feb. 3, 2011
CONWAY, S.C. - Anthony Raffa scored 19 points and Coastal Carolina held on to beat Liberty 77-71 Thursday night from Kimbel Arena in a battle of the top two teams in the Big South Conference.
Coastal Carolina (21-2, 12-0) has won 16 straight Big South games and has not lost in conference since Jan. 14, 2010, tying the Chanticleers with Winthrop for the second-longest winning streak in league history.
Desmond Holloway finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and career-high five steals for the Chanticleers, who own the nation's second-longest winning streak with 19 consecutive victories. Chad Gray added 12 points and a team-leading eight rebounds as Coastal held a 50-26 edge in points in the paint.
Danny Nieman poured in 12 points and seven rebounds, while Kierre Greenwood chipped in with 10 points, five assists and four steals to help the Chants convert 21 points off 19 Liberty turnovers.
Evan Gordon scored a game-high 26 points to go along with six rebounds, while David Minaya added 20 points and six rebounds. Jesse Sanders finished with 10 points and John Brown gabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Chanticleers never trailed and led 66-47 with 4:14 left to play, but a 13-1 run by the Flames cut that lead to 67-60 with 1:25 remaining.
A free throw from Minaya pulled Liberty (16-8, 10-2) within four, 73-69, with six seconds on the clock, but Coastal Carolina went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to seal the win. The Chanticleers had missed seven of their previous eight free throws before Crawford and Gray each hit a pair.
Coastal saw its lead cut to two points with just under eight minutes left in the first half on a jumper form Gordon, but Raffa answered with five straight points to push the Chanticleer lead up to seven points with just over five minutes before halftime. The Chants went on to lead by as many as nine points in the first half.
A jumper by Minaya midway through the second half cut the Chanticleer deficit to 10 points, but a 13-4 Coastal run capped by a breakaway dunk from Greenwood gave the Chants their largest lead of the half at 19 points.
Coastal returns to action Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when the Chants welcome VMI to Kimbel Arena.