The Citadel men's basketball team overcame a 27-point deficit early in the second half to pull to within seven with just over five minutes to go, but Campbell was able to make just enough shots down the stretch to hold on for a 10-point, 87-77 win inside Gore Arena Thursday night.
"We talk about it often with the team, once you get down really big, there's no penalty for just playing hard and just playing with abandon. Good things can actually happen (when you play hard)," said head coach Duggar Baucom. "I was pleased with our energy and effort there late, but you can't spot a good team 27 points, especially as late as we did.”
In the first half, freshman Alex Reed gave the Bulldogs (4-6) a 22-21 lead with 7:15 to play, but Campbell (5-5) closed out the half on a 21-4 run to take a 42-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. Fellow freshman Tariq Simmons had an excellent chance to cut the deficit as he put up a half-court shot as time expired, but it was just off the mark, despite sitting on the rim for a heartbeat.
The second half saw Campbell stretch things out to as many as 27 at 57-32 with 14:30 to play, but the Bulldogs began to chip away from there and used an 18-4 run over a span of over 7:30 in the middle portion of the frame to close to within seven points, 65-58 when sophomore Kaelon Harris converted an old-fashioned three-point play with a layup and a free throw.
However, that was as close as The Citadel could pull as Campbell found ways to stretch things back out to as many as 13 multiple times down the stretch before settling for the 10-point victory.
The Bulldogs rebounded after shooting 32.3% (10-of-31) from the field and 23.1% (3-of-13) from three-point range in the first half to convert 44.2% (19-of-43) from the field in the second half, including 30.8% (4-of-13) from long range.
In comparison, Campbell hit on 47.8% (33-of-69) of their shots from the field for the game while out-rebounding the Bulldogs 51-36. 16 of the Camels' points came off second chances.
Junior Matt Frierson led the Bulldogs with a career-high 22 points off 7-of-15 (.467) from the field, including hitting a team-high three three-pointers. It marked the 16th consecutive game that Frierson has converted at least one three-pointer. Frierson also went 5-of-6 (.833) from the free throw line.
Harris was second on the squad with 18 points off 6-of-12 (.500) shooting in 30 minutes while Simmons bounced back from a scoreless first half to score 16 points in the second period. The freshman guard chipped in seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in 26 minutes of action while Frankie Johnson led the team with eight boards, four each off the offensive and defensive glass, in a team-high 35 minutes.
Chris Clemons, the Big South Conference Preseason Player of the Year, led all scorers with 32 points off 12-of-21 (.571) shooting from the floor and a game-high five three-pointers.
FAST BREAK FACTS
With his three three-pointers in Thursday night's game, junior Matt Frierson has now hit at least one three-pointer in 16 consecutive games dating back to Feb. 18, 2017, at home against Mercer.
Frierson's 22 points against Campbell marked a career-high for the junior, eclipsing his previous mark of 21 set last season against Johnson on Nov. 13, 2016. His seven made field goals matched his career high, set in the game with Johnson, and he also set a career high with five made free throws on six attempts. Hit previous career high for both free throws made and attempted was three set earlier this season at Florida State.
Frankie Johnson's eight rebounds against the Camels matched his career high in the category, set last season against USC Upstate on Dec. 3, 2016.
With seven three-pointers against the Camels, the Bulldogs have now converted at least one three-pointer in 338 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 16, 2007, a road game at Davidson.
Thursday marked the eighth time this season that every available player on the Bulldogs' roster played in the game.
The game at Campbell also marked the eighth time this season the Bulldogs have won the turnover battle. The Bulldogs forced the Camels into nine turnovers while committing just six of their own.
The Bulldogs will return home for the final time before the holiday break with a game on Saturday, Dec. 16 against Point. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. Following the home tilt against Point, The Citadel will hit the road for the final time in 2017 with a game at Ohio State on Tuesday, Dec. 19 featuring a 7 p.m. tipoff on the Big Ten Network.