BUIES CREEK — Cory Gensler’s 15-foot pull-up jumper with nine-tenths of a second remaining lifted Campbell to a 71-69 men’s basketball win over New Orleans on Monday night in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) quarterfinal round at Gore Arena.
The Camels will play at San Francisco on Thursday night with a trip to the CBI championship series at stake. Campbell and USF will tip off Thursday at 10 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. West Coast Conference member San Francisco (20-15) defeated Utah Valley 78-73 Monday.
Jacksonville State will play at North Texas in the other CBI semifinal. 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.
CU’s Chris Clemons poured in 35 points Monday — the last three on an end-of-shot-clock fade away 30-footer with 19.8 seconds to play that put Campbell (18-15) up 69-66. However, Ezekiel Charles swished a top of the key triple with 7.3seconds remaining to tie the score.
With UNO double-teaming Clemons — the nation’s fourth-leading scorer — Gensler took the inbound pass and dribbled into the front court as time wound down. The sophomore from Carynangled from the left wing to the free throw line and pulled up for the winning bucket.
Against full-court pressure, the Privateers (16-17) were able to inbound the ball, but the horn sounded before UNO could launch a desperation three-quarter court attempt.
Campbell advances to the CBI semifinal round to be played later this week against a yet-to-be determined opponent.
Clemons scored 23 of his 35 points in the second half. He added five assists and three steals. With second-leading scorer Marcus Burk (14.8) out with an injury, Damontez Oliver had 13 points and freshman Ja’Cor Nelson eight (on four dunks) in 12 second-half minutes off the bench.
Charles led the Privateers with 19 points, including 5-of-8 threes, while Scott Plaisance and Troy Green added 11 each. Makur Puou scored 10 and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Campbell trailed by as many as 12 late in the first half and fell behind 44-34 after Charles’ short bank shot with 18:15 to play. However, Clemons scored 11 points in a 13-2 burst and his 3-point play off Andrew Eudy’s backdoor pass put the Camels back in front 47-46 with 15:13 to go.
UNO led 63-60 with 3:58 to play after Tyren Harrison scored on a drive to the lane, but Clemons hit two from the line then connected on a right wing triple with 2:41 left for a 65-63 edge. After Clemons made 1-of-2 from the line, Harrison’s put back and free throw tied the score at 66 with 52.4 seconds to set up the final sequence.
Campbell shot 58 percent in the second half, 51 percent (22-43) for the game, made 9-of-21 threes and twice as many free throws (18-of-23) than UNO attempted (5-9). The Privateers shot 49 percent for the game and hit 6-of-13 from 3-point distance, while finishing with a 29-24 advantage on the glass.
Clemons, who became Campbell’s all-time leading scorer in last week’s CBI first round win over Miami (Ohio) moved into third place on the Big South career points list Monday night with his final bucket. The junior from Raleigh has scored 2,214 points in 96 games.
CU won its ninth in the last 10 games at Gore Arena and improved to 13-1 this year when shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)