Game #9-268: Campbell Fighting Camels at Longwood LancersJanuary 9, 2013 7:00 pm
Henry I. Willet, Jr. Hall
The Campbell Camels have become fairly familiar to the Longwood faithful over the course of the Division I era. Campbell has been one of the rare Big South teams that had no problem scheduling the Lancers when they were a DI Independent. The two squads had met six times with both teams winning three games before Wednesday night. I remember one January 2008 contest in my last year at Longwood when I got to the arena and was told there were no referees. After an hour and half beer delay (sponsored by WingShak RIP), some replacement refs battled the elements to tip-off the game.
Campbell has always had a soft spot in my heart. I went to golf camp there as a kid (Best Short Game '99!) and I've always kept an eye on the Camels. I mean, really...who doesn't love Camels? As many TMM travelers can attest to, Buies Creek, North Carolina, is a unique place to say the least (in a good way in my opinion). But we were not traveling to the Creek on Wednesday; instead my dad accompanied to Farmville as he has done so many time in the past.
Longwood's "arena" Willett Hall may have one of the most interesting set ups in college basketball. One of the most interesting facets of the set up is that the referees have to walk through the Lancers Club hospitality room to get to and from their locker room. This sometimes results in potentially awkward halftime situations as tempers can flare (never mine of course) but before the game I'll often greet the refs with a bit of brown nosing. Last night as I was enjoying my free appetizers and a $2 Yuengling I offered the officials a cold brew before they hit the court, sadly they declined. Other sad news came down, for Campbell at least, as I was in the room when the Big South's leading scorer Darren White was declared out for the game re-aggravating a knee injury. Simply put, the Camels have been a different team without White, even losing to a NAIA school in December.
Upon taking our seats the first thing I noticed was Camels coach Robbie Laing's outfit. I don't know if Laing thought it was retro night or what, but he was rocking a plaid blazers (with elbow pads), a striped button up, and a paisley tie. His get up didn't match some of Larry Brown's get up and the ABAs
, but it did hurt my eyes a bit and for that I applaud Laing for coming to a visiting arena and not being afraid to flash some style.
The first half was about as even as it could get as the two teams were tied at 32 at the half. The refs seemed like they were in a bit of a hurry only calling seven fouls in the first half, three of which were in one defensive possession for the Camels. Campbell was killing Longwood from the stripe as they were fifty percentage points better from the line going two for two while Longwood was just one for two.
Laing didn't adjust his dress at halftime, but he did adjust his team as the Camels stormed to a 24-13 to open up the first eight minutes of the second half. While Laing was busy adjusting, it seemed like Longwood coach Mike Gillian was reluctant to adjust despite the Camels killing the Lancers inside. Perhaps a 2-3 zone could have stopped the bleeding a little sooner? Nevertheless the game did tighten up again thanks to some stellar individual play from Tristan Carey; the Lancers tied the game up with about three minutes left.
This was the Coastal and so many other games all over again. Under four minute timeout, one shot or tied game, a final chess match between the two coaches. It seems like Longwood never wins this chess match or as my dad says "the Lancers find another way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory." As Longwood was falling behind, largely because of stud Camel guard Trey Freeman, the most interesting event of the night occurred.
Mike Gillian may be a coach on the hot seat, I don't know because I've been saying the same thing for nine years now. But over the last four or five games he's had an increasing trend of tirades, yelling, skipping radio interviews, just frustration boiling over in general. With about a minute left, Karl Ziegler went up for a layup for Longwood and it was pinned by a Camel defender. Was it a goaltend? I don't know, it looked like it to me but Longwood was down ten with a minute left...in other words...who knows? Gillian thought he knew and went absolutely nuts. "There goes the tie" is what I was told on the radio. After stripping off his tie there was seriously a moment in my head where I thought "holy sh*t this guy is about to rip his shirt off..." as he kept fiddling with his collar and buttons all why going b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Gillian even used his last timeout to try to keep the protest going. It was one step short of a Bobby Knight chair throw in an attempt to get T'd up. In the end, the refs wouldn't give Gillian what he wanted and wouldn't T him up or eject him, which I'm sure made the mental frustration boil over even more. I don't think I've ever seen my dad laugh as hard as he did throughout the whole sequence of events. With this ummm...show from Gillian, I think it's only fair to call him "Magic Mike" for now on.
It was just one of the those kind of nights and just one of those kind of endings that I have come accustomed to being a Lancer fan. The game ended with a missed two handed, wide open dunk from Michael Kessens (sorry Vegas). The Camels won a tough road game without their best player 83-73. Trey Freeman had a masterful performance: 19 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists (so this is what a point guard looks like?). Longwood's star was TT Carey who dropped 23 points and grabbed 6 boards.
Campbell will now look to extend their win streak to five games as they head to South Division doormat Presbyterian. Longwood will still search for their first conference win as they welcome South Division favorite Charleston Southern to Farmville on Saturday for the ESPN3 Matt Cayuela Big South Saturday Super Showdown Game of the Week presented by Macado's.
CAMPBELL 83, at LONGWOOD 73
CAMPBELL 7-9 (2-0) -- T. Freeman 6-17 6-7 19; R. McCarter 5-7 0-0 10; M. Harris 6-8 3-4 15; D. Hooker 4-9 4-4 14; D. Leonard 7-14 1-1 15; A. Ryan 1-3 0-0 2; A. Oliver 3-4 0-0 6; L. Leek 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 32-62 16-18 83.
LONGWOOD 3-13 (0-2) -- M. Kessens 3-5 1-2 7; T. Carey 9-16 1-3 23; N. Brown 3-14 3-4 9; J. Dublin 5-8 2-4 12; D. Robinson 3-10 0-0 8; K. Ziegler 3-7 5-6 11; L. Woodhouse 1-1 0-0 3; J. Havenstein 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 12-19 73.
Three-point goals: CAMP 3-5 (T. Freeman 1-1; D. Hooker 2-4), LONG 7-18 (T. Carey 4-9; D. Robinson 2-5; N. Brown 0-3; L. Woodhouse 1-1); Rebounds: CAMP 31 (M. Harris 7), LONG 27 (T. Carey 6); Assists: CAMP 18 (T. Freeman 10), LONG 11 (L. Woodhouse 4); Total Fouls -- CAMP 17, LONG 13; Fouled Out: CAMP-None; LONG-None.