BUIES CREEK — Chris Clemons scored 28 of his 44 points in the final 14:17 of play and Campbell defeated UNC Wilmington 97-93 in overtime Tuesday night at Gore Arena in the season opener for both teams.
The nation’s top returning scorer, Clemons scored all 15 of Campbell’s points in the extra period and the Camels overcame Ty Taylor’s banked-in triple that forced overtime to win their 11th-straight home opener at Gore Arena.
Andrew Eudy added 21 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks for the Camels, who closed the game on a 12-4 run. Freshman Isaac Chatman chipped in 12 points and six rebounds in his collegiate debut.
The Camels held a 25-10 edge in points off turnovers.
Taylor scored 29 points, including 6-of-10 threes, and grabbed eight rebounds, while Devontae Cacok added 19 points and 13 boards. Jay Estime’ came off the bench to chip in 15 points, including 4-of-4 beyond the arc.
In a game that included 20 lead changes and the score was tied on nine occasions, UNCW (0-1) made 15-of-29 threes (.517) on the night, shot 46 percent overall, and held a 44-35 advantage on the glass. However, Campbell (1-0) made 13 triples, shot 46 percent and committed only seven turnovers.
Clemons scored 16 first-half points to register his 83rd-straight double-figure scoring outing, the longest active streak among all Division I players. However, he was scoreless in the second period until he drained a trey with 9:17 to go during a 12-0 Camel burst that turned a seven-point deficit into a 64-59 lead. Eudy started the run with two triples and Cory Gensler capped it with a corner three.
Neither team led by more than four during the final 8:10 and after Clemons made two foul shots with 37.9 seconds left the Camels led 80-76. But Estime’ answered with a wing three to cut the gap to 80-79. Two more Clemons free throws pushed the gap to 82-79 with 16.1 seconds left before Taylor banked in his 22-footer from straight on to force the extra period.
Taylor’s fifth triple gave UNCW an 89-85 lead with 2:46 left in OT, but Clemons outscored the Seahawks 10-1 over the next 2:22 on two trips to the foul line, a pull-up trey and old-fashioned 3-point play. After Taylor’s last three-ball trimmed the gap to 95-93 with 5.8 seconds to play, Clemons sealed the win with two more on the line.
Clemons’ second-highest scoring outing of his career (behind only the 51-point effort he produced in the 2017 Big South tournament quarterfinals) included 12-of-24 shooting overall, 6-of-16 from the arc, and 14-of-16 from the stripe. He added eight rebounds, dealt four assists, made five steals and did not commit a turnover in 41 minutes.
Campbell returns to action Friday at 7:30 p.m. when the Camels host former Big South rival Coastal Carolina.
Friday’s game is the second of two “Heal the Teal” events at Gore Arena as the Campbell Athletics Department is donating 20 percent of each individual game ticket sold to hurricane relief efforts for the UNCW and Coastal Carolina games. The money raised will be sent to UNCW and Coastal Carolina for relief and recovery efforts in the Wilmington and Conway communities.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)