While perusing the schedule this year, I was trying to find an opportunity to get to see two games in one day that weren't too far apart. I came across December 10th and found the perfect opportunity, with the first game being an early tip-off between Campbell and Methodis,t and a night time tip-off with Charlotte and Davidson. I was looking forward to my first real long 800GP road trip of the season.
Campbell is in its first year back being in the Big South after leaving in 1994. They originally left because of pressure to play on Sundays, which was against the Baptist school's policies. There was also supposed pressure to play in Fayetteville, since Carter Gymnasium sat less than 1000, and also didn't have a regulation-size court, which was grandfathered in since the gymnasium had been built in 1952. The Camels came back to the Big South this year, to keep travel costs down, from the Atlantic Sun. They return with a new arena built in 2008, the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center.
I had to check out the newest members of the Big South and the new arena. I was told that there really wasn't too much in Buies Creek, and while I had a bit of skepticism, they were right. I accidentally drove past a Division 1 university, as there really isn't much there except the campus. I was impressed with the Convocation Center, with its good sightlines and I wasn't going to complain about the $5 ticket either. The place was less than half full with final exams being yesterday, and most of the students had left. Even with the smaller crowd, the place still got pretty noisy, and should be a rocking atmosphere when I come back later in the year.
I was even more interested in seeing this Campbell team that was 7-1, with RLUs over East Carolina and Iowa. They had been led by freshman point guard Trey Freeman, swingman Darren White and big man Eric Griffin. Griffin wasn't going to play after suffering a nasty cut the previous game that needed 14 stitches. A fan nearby said it wasn't a pretty scene with blood gushing all over the floor. While he wouldn't be needed tonight against Methodist, he'll be needed against upcoming ACC foes Virginia Tech and NC State.
The fans are supposed to stand before the Camels score their first points, but that only took about 20 seconds and it looked as if Campbell was going to win easily right off the bat. They built a quick lead, but Methodist did crawl back into the game a bit with better defense and rebounding. This was my second time seeing the Monarchs, and they did have some fight in them and did bring a good handful of of fans with their campus only 30 minutes away.
The game was put away towards the end of the first half when the Camels hit three three-pointers to stretch a nine-point lead to 18. The second half of the game was no contest, as is the case in most of these non D-1 matchups. All of the walk-ons got some time and some points, much to the delight of the home crowd. Darren White ended up with an arena record of 33, and Campbell came up with a 103-55 rout.
While I can't judge too much about the game considering the opponent, I will say the Camels are going to be a factor in the Big South race.
The game only last and an hour and 40 minutes, which was good for me since I had a three-hour drive across the state to Charlotte for my second game of the day.
at CAMPBELL 103, METHODIST 55 12/10/2011
CAMPBELL 8-1 (2-0) -- D. White 12-20 5-5 33; A. Celestin 5-7 1-1 11; T. Freeman 5-13 5-5 16; R. Ferguson 4-8 2-2 10; M. Harris 2-4 0-0 4; A. Kalpic 3-5 0-1 6; A. Ryan 3-5 3-4 12; A. Horton 0-1 0-2 0; J. Wright 2-2 2-2 6; T. Zegarzewski 1-2 0-0 3; N. Onuoha 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 38-68 18-22 103.
Three-point goals: - , CAMP 9-21 (D. White 4-9; A. Horton 0-1; A. Ryan 3-5; T. Freeman 1-4; T. Zegarzewski 1-2); Rebounds: , CAMP 36 (M. Harris 5); Assists: , CAMP 27 (T. Freeman 10); Total Fouls -- , CAMP 14; Fouled Out: -; CAMP-None.