BUIES CREEK — Campbell celebrated Senior Day in basketball with a pair of wins on Saturday.
Following one of the first practices of the season, Campbell women’s basketball coach Ronny Fisher walked into the locker room and found a drawing of a ring on the white board. Hayley Barber’s drawing came to fruition as the Lady Camels claimed sole ownership of the Big South Conference regular-season title with a 56-42 win over Presbyterian.
Luana Serranho scored a career-high 21 points to help lead the Camels to their first regular-season conference title since 2001 and the program’s first Big South regular season crown since 1991.
Serranho surpassed her previous career-high of 19 points, set twice previously this season, on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown. Kianna Speight added 12 points and Shy Tuelle had 10 to round out the trio of double-digit scorers for the Camels.
Trinity Johnson led the way for the Blue Hose (10-18, 6-13 Big South) with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Shamani Stafford had nine points in the loss.
Campbell (21-6, 16-2 Big South) closed the game on a 15-6 run to secure its 16th Big South win of the season which matches a program record for most conference wins in a season. The Camels last posted 16 wins in conference play in 2001 when the Camels went on to win the Trans America Athletic Conference regular-season title.
Campbell will play host to the Big South women’s basketball tournament as the No. 1 seed. Campbell will host the winner of the No. 8/9 seed game on Thursday, March 12, at Gore Arena at 6 p.m. With a win, the Camels would advance to Friday’s semifinal contest at 6 p.m. The championship game will be Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m.
Campbell closed the third period on a 12-4 run to take a 37-33 lead into the final period before outscoring the Blue Hose 19-9 to close the contest.
The Camels held Presbyterian to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field while knocking down 44.2 percent of their own shots and held PC to just 3-of-18 or 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Campbell made more free throws (12-of-13) than the Blue Hose attempted (5-of-8).
Campbell closes out its home slate of Wednesday against Hampton looking to improve upon its 12-1 record inside Gore Arena this season.
Campbell men down UNC Asheville
Senior Trey Spencer led five Campbell players in double figures with 13 points and the Camels defeated UNC Asheville, 78-69, in men’s basketball.
In the final home game for Spencer and fellow seniors Cory Gensler and Noah Saunders, Campbell (15-15, 6-12) shot 58 percent from the floor and never let Asheville get no closer than seven points over the final 25:12.
Gensler added 10 points, while freshmen Joshua Lusane (12), Messiah Thompson (11) and Jesús Carralero (11) all hit double figures for CU, which knocked down 8-of-19 triples and hit 12-of-15 from the stripe.
Lavar Batts, Jr. led UNC Asheville (14-15, 8-10) with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting. DeVon Baker added 16 and LJ Thorpe 13 for the Bulldogs, who shot 54 percent on the day, but made just 3-of-10 threes and 12-of-20 (.600) from the free throw line.
After leading by nine at the break, Campbell extended the margin to 16 when Ricky Clemons scored on a backdoor feed from Lusane to give the Camels a 65-49 edge with 6:50 remaining.
Asheville chipped away and pulled with 70-63 on Batts’ spinning move in the lane with 2:05 to play. The Camels broke the Bulldog press and Cedric Henderson, Jr., dunked in transition before hitting both ends of a one-and-one with 1:04 remaining to extend the lead once again to double figures.
The Camels used a 21-4 run late in the first half to grab a 14-point lead. Thompson’s leaner in the lane pushed the margin to 38-24 with 1:15 to play before Asheville scored the final five points of the period.
Asheville made 50 percent of its shots (13-26) in the first half, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, but missed five of its six free throws. Spencer, Gensler and Carralero all scored eight first-half points for the Camels, who shot 56 percent (15-27) from the floor and made 6-of-11 threes (.545) before the break.
Campbell shot 61 percent (14-23) in the second half and hit 10-of-11 from the line in the final 20 minutes. The Camels finished with a 27-22 edge on the boards and had a 17-12 lead in points off turnovers against a Bulldog unit that ranked fourth in the nation in turnover margin.
Campbell’s bench out-scored the Asheville reserves 38-3, thanks in part to Carralero (5-6), Thompson (4-6) and Lusane (4-6), who combined to make 13-of-18 from the floor. Lusane grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. Spencer hit 5-of-7 shots, including 2-of-3 triples in 20 minutes, while Gensler made 4-of-7 shots from the floor in 37 minutes. Neither committed a turnover against the Bulldog pressure defense.
Campbell will open play Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Big South Tournament. The Camels will travel to sixth-seeded UNC-Asheville with the winner advancing to Thursday’s quarterfinal against third-seeded Gardner-Webb in Radford, Va.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)