BUIES CREEK — Chris Clemons became Campbell’s all-time scoring leader, Damontez Oliver had a career-high 19 points and Campbell defeated Miami (Ohio) 97-87 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational at Gore Arena.
Clemons finished with 32 points and moved by Jonathan Rodriguez (2,153 points from 2006-10) into first place on the school’s career points list. The nation’s fourth-leading scorer (24.8 points per game), Clemons has tallied 2,179 points in just 95 games.
Marcus Burk added 16 points and Mogga Lado had 11 off the bench for the Camels (17-15), who will host New Orleans (16-16) Monday at 7 p.m. in the CBI quarterfinals.
Nike Sibande, the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, scored a career-high 29 points for the RedHawks (16-18). Logan McLane had 19 in his final collegiate game and Isaiah Coleman-Landis added 10 for Miami, which shot 55 percent on the night.
Clemons hit 11-of-19 shots, including 4-of-9 threes, and 6-of-7 from the stripe and notched his sixth 30-plus point outing of the season. His drive to the bucket with 5:06 left in the first half provided his seventh and eighth points of the night to move by Rodriguez.
Oliver came off the bench to hit 6-of-8 shots, including a career-best five threes, in 31 minutes. He scored 13 points in the second half as the Camels erased a 7-point deficit. Trailing 53-46 after McLane’s triple with 18:51 to play, Campbell outscored the RedHawks 26-7 over the next 7:13 and knocked down five triples in the span.
Clemons’ free throws pushed the Campbell lead to 72-60 with 11:39 remaining, but Miami went on a 14-4 burst and trimmed the gap to 76-74 on Jake Wright’s layup in transition. After a Campbell timeout, the teams swapped buckets. Oliver’s pull-up jumper started a decisive 13-2 run and the sophomore from Richmond, Va., added a pair of wing threes in a span where the Camels made seven straight shots.
Oliver, Cory Gensler and Jordan Whitfield each hit both ends of one-and-one opportunities in the last 48.2 seconds to seal Campbell’s third postseason victory in the last two seasons.
Campbell shot 62.3 percent (33-53) on the night, 68 percent (17-25) in the second half, and canned 16-of-30 from 3-point range (.533). The Camels made six more free throws (15-16) than Miami attempted (8-9).
Miami shot 55 percent from the floor, hit 13-of-26 from 3-point distance, but could not stop Campbell’s long distance attack. The Camels made eight 3-pointers in each half and improved to 12-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.
The CBI is a single-elimination tournament up until the best-of-three finals, with all games played at campus sites. The quarterfinal round will take place on Monday, March 19, followed by the semifinal round on Wednesday, March 21.
Prior to the semifinals, the remaining teams will be re-bracketed. The finals series is a best-of-three in which one team will host two of the three games. Those games will be played on March 26, March 28, and March 30.
2018 College Basketball Invitational
Tuesday, March 13
Utah Valley 87, Eastern Washington 65
Wednesday, March 14
San Francisco 72, Colgate 68
Campbell 97, Miami (Ohio) 87
New Orleans 77, UTRGV 74
North Texas 90, South Dakota 77
Mercer 78, Grand Canyon 73
Central Arkansas 92, Seattle 90
Jacksonville State 80, Canisius 72 (OT)
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)