BOILING SPRINGS – Chris Clemons scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in a big first half as Campbell took a 76-60 win at Gardner-Webb Wednesday night.
The Fighting Camels (10-7, 3-2 Big South) shot 61.3 percent as a team in the first half and led by as many as 23 points before settling into a 50-32 lead at intermission.
Gardner-Webb (9-9, 2-3 Big South) was able to slow the shooting success in the second half, but could not find its range offensively to make a strong push and shot just 35.1 percent for the game (20-of-57) in a difficult offensive evening.
After digging itself a major hole in the opening 20 minutes, the Runnin' Bulldogs battled in the second half – eventually whittling the Camels' lead to just 10 points, 63-53, on a pair of Tyrell Nelson free throws.
After a Laquincy Rideau free throw cut the lead back to 10 points with 6:24 left in the game, Clemons scored five-straight to key a 7-0 run that put the visitors back in control of the game. Gardner-Webb would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Campbell led wire-to-wire, starting the game on a 22-8 run. The Runnin' Bulldogs worked the margin back to 10 points – 27-17 – on a Jamaal Robateau layup with 9:23 before the half, but the Fighting Camels went on a 16-4 run from there to go up 43-21 on a triple from Clemons with 5:20 left in the the opening half.
Campbell knocked home 19-of-31 shots (61.3 percent) in the opening half and assisted on 12 of those baskets with only three turnovers. The visitors cooled considerably in the second half as Gardner-Webb was able to pull closer, shooting just 31.6 percent after the break and 50.0 percent (25-of-50) for the game.
In addition to Clemons' scoring, the Fighting Camels got 19 points from forward Shane Whitfield and nine points from Kyre' Hamer. Guard Cory Gensler finished the game with 11 rebounds.
Gardner-Webb was led by Rideau, who scored 17 points to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Robateau added 14 points and Nelson had 11 points and eight rebounds. GWU, one of the top passing teams in the Big South, managed only six assists on 20 made baskets for the game – as shots simply would not fall.
The 'Dogs were also outscored in the paint for the first time in several games, as Campbell owned a 40-32 edge in that category. A total of 49 fouls were whistled in the game and neither team could fully take advantage at the line – with both shooting just above 58 percent from the stripe.
Gardner-Webb will hit the road for its longest trip of the league season on Saturday, traveling to face Longwood at 2:00 pm in Farmville, Va. The game will air live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com), with Chris Heymeyer and Ralph Patterson on the call.