The game got off to an unique start, as Liberty was assessed a pre-game technical for a dunk by Vincent Okotie during warmups. Coastals senior forward Torrey Butler knocked them both down and CCU led 2-0 before the opening tip. From there, the two teams struggled from the field in a physical battle, each hitting just 31 percent from the field and the Chanticleers escaping with a 28-27 halftime advantage.
Coastal led for most of the second half, but only by as many as five on three occasions. Liberty eventually took the lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Jeremy Monceaux to put the Flames up 51-49 with 3:39 to play. Coastal cut it to one, 55-54, on a conventional three-point play by Butler with 32 seconds to go. After a missed free throw by Monceaux, Coastal had their opportunities, but Clint Nagel had two chances in the final seconds, missing a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds to play and then having a jumper just fall off the rim as time expired.
Butler led all scorers with 25 points, but was the only Chanticleer in double figures, while Monceaux led three Flames in double digits with 22 points.
The big difference tonight was the free throw shooting, as while Coastal outrebounded Liberty 49-34, the Chants struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 10 of 22 (45.5 percent) while the Flames were 81.3 percent (13 of 16). Additionally during the last four games, Coastal has lost them by a combined 11 points.
Coastal next hits the road this week for a pair of conference matchups, opening at UNC Asheville, Thu., Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. The Chants finish the trip with a game at Birmingham Southern, Sat., Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. Liberty will next take on Birmingham-Southern, Wed., Jan. 29.