BUIES CREEK — Jordan Whitfield made a leaner with 8.8 seconds to play and Campbell rallied to defeat USC Upstate 72-71 Thursday night at Gore Arena.
Joshua Lusane got a piece of Tommy Bruner’s driving attempt in the final seconds to lift the Camels (11-9, 7-6 Big South) to their third straight win.
Campbell, which trailed by seven (68-61) with 6:38 to play, held the Spartans (4-14, 4-8) scoreless over the final 4:12 as Upstate missed its last seven shots.
Messiah Thompson came off the bench to lead Campbell with a career-high 19 points, including 5-of-9 threes. Cedric Henderson, Jr. added 16 points (10-of-10 from the line) and Whitfield finished with 14.
Everette Hammond led Upstate with 20 points, Nevin Zink had 13, Khydarius Smith 11 and Bruner 10 for the Spartans who did not score after Josh Aldrich’s stick back gave them a 71-66 lead with 4:28 remaining.
Henderson’s free throws cut the lead to 71-68 with 1:11 left before Bryson Mozone missed a corner three and Ricky Clemons grabbed the rebound with 40 seconds to go. Henderson then was fouled and made two more with 25 seconds remaining to cut the gap to one (71-70).
Whitfield and Gediminas Mokšeckas trapped Bruner in the corner on the inbound play and the Upstate sophomore was whistled for traveling with 22.4 seconds showing. Whitfield dribbled to the left baseline and hit what proved to be the winner from about 12 feet.
CU’s only lead of the second half came on the final possession.
Upstate finished 27-of-50 from the field (.540), but missed its last seven shots and made 13 turnovers, which Campbell converted into 12 points.
The Camels shot 42.9 percent from the floor, made 11-of-24 threes (45.8 percent) and 19-of-25 (76 percent) from the line. CU finished with 13 assists and a season-low six turnovers (three in each half).
Upstate made its first six shots and jumped to a 16-8 lead. The Camels connected on eight of their next nine attempts and went in frontm 28-26, on Thompson’s step back three with 6:48 to play in the period.
In a first half that saw six lead changes and five ties, Upstate held a 40-37 advantage at the break. The Spartans made 67 percent (16-24) of their first half shots.
Thompson had 13 points off the bench in the opening period for the Camels, who shot 50 percent from the floor and made 6-of-13 triples.
Campbell and Upstate complete the two-game series tonight (Friday, February 12) at 7 p.m.
(Campbell media services provided the basis for this report)