BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Senior guard Chris Clemons scored all 15 points of his 44 points in overtime to lift Campbell past UNCW, 97-93, in the 104th meeting between the two eastern North Carolina foes late Tuesday at Gore Arena.
In a see-saw season opener, Campbell led for 25:54 and survived 20 lead changes to knock off the Seahawks for the fourth time in five tries on their new orange-clad home floor. UNCW forced overtime with a dramatic banked three-pointer by Ty Taylor, but couldn’t solve Clemons in the extra period.
Clemons went 12-for-24 from the floor and 14-of-16 at the charity stripe to anchor three Camels in double figures. Senior forward Andrew Eudy added 21 points and freshman forward Isaac Chatman had 12 as CU shot 45.8 percent on the night.
Taylor, a redshirt junior guard from Grandview, Mo., enjoyed a career night, winding up with 29 points, including 6-of-10 from deep. Senior forward Devontae Cacok registered his 35th double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds and sophomore guard contributed 15 points off the bench.
After Taylor forced OT with this timely triple at the end of regulation, the Seahawks scored seven of the first nine points in the extra session and led, 89-85 after Taylor’s sixth trifecta with 2:40 left to play.
But Clemmons answered with a three-pointer, a conventional three-point play and six straight free throws in the final 2:14 to help the Camels close out the win.
The Camels exploded out of the gate with the first 10 points of the game, capped by a Clemons layup with 17:17 remaining in the first half, to grab early control before the Seahawks caught up.
UNCW dialed long distance to climb back in it and wound up connecting on 8-of-15 from deep, including a perfect 3-for-3 from Estime. After a Taylor three-ball gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 21-19, at 9:37, Shawn O’Connell’s putback underneath extended UNCW’s edge to 26-21 at 7:09.
But CU regained the advantage to take a 40-39 edge into intermission behind Clemons’ 16 points and 10 from Eudy at the break.
KEY MOMENT: With the score knotted at 90-all in overtime, Clemons converted a three-point play with 51.6 seconds left to give the Camels the lead for good.
TURNOVER PRONE: The Seahawks committed 18 turnovers and the Camels capitalized, scoring 25 points off the miscues in the contest.
HOT FROM DEEP: UNCW canned 15-of-29 from long distance for 51.7 percent on the night and made 5-of-8 in the second half to send the game into extra time.
SERIES UPDATE: The Seahawks still lead the series, 60-44, after having their three-game winning streak vs. the Camels snapped.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: Clemons’ 44-point explosion was the most ever scored by a UNCW opponent, surpassing the 42 points scored by Howard’s RJ Cole in last year’s Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, Texas.
SOLID AT THE STRIPE: The Seahawks went 20-for-27 for 74.1 percent at the charity stripe. The starting lineup finished 19-for-25 at the line.
QUOTABLE: “We all wanted to win the game. We didn’t make the plays we needed to make to win. I told my team that every possession matters. Ty Taylor made some big shots and gave us a chance” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath
NEXT UP: UNCW returns home for three consecutive games at Trask Coliseum, beginning on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, when Pac-12 Conference member Stanford pays its first visit to Wilmington. The contest has been designated as a “White Out” game and all fans are encouraged to wear white apparel to the 7 p.m. matchup.