January 27, 2009

Men's Basketball hosts Florida Gulf Coast Wednesday night

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell returns home for the only time in a five-game segment of the A-Sun schedule Wednesday when the Fighting Camels host Florida Gulf Coast in a 7:00 p.m. start. The game will air on WCLN 107.3 FM and on-line at www.GoCamels.com.

The Camels (7-12, 4-6) dropped a 73-65 decision Saturday at USC Upstate. FGCU (9-13, 5-6) has lost 3 of its last 4, including a 75-65 decision Sunday at home vs. Jacksonville. CU is 6-2 at home this year, while the Eagles are 0-9 on the road.

Florida Gulf Coast claimed a 72-68 win over the Camels on Dec. 13 at Fort Myers. Michigan transfer Reed Baker scored 26 points, while Derrick O'Neil added 16, plus 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Jonathan Rodriguez (12) and Lorne Merthie (11) hit double figures for Campbell.

Gulf Coast won last year's meeting with the Camels, 78-73 at Carter Gym, but only seven players (3 FGCU, 4 CU), who saw action in that game are on 2008-09 rosters at their respective schools.

On Saturday at USC Upstate, Jonathan Rodriguez moved past Henry Wilson (724 from 1985-89) into 4th place on the Campbell career rebounds chart. "J-Rod" has 726 boards in 80 contests. Rodriguez (1,483 points) also ranks second among all NCAA Division I junior class members, behind only Stephen Curry of Davidson (2,155).

William Kossangue became the 6th different Camel to lead the team in scoring this year last Thursday at ETSU with his 18-point effort. Jonathan Rodriguez has topped the team 14 times through 18 games, while Kossangue, Amir Celestin, Kyle Vejraska, Chris Reynolds and Matt Gwynne have paced the squad once each.

Lorne Merthie scored a career-high 17 points at Upstate, shooting 5-7 from the floor (3-5 threes), 4-5 from the line, while also dealing 2 assists and grabbing 4 steals.

FGCU has not won away from home since Jan. 26, 2008, an 87-80 victory at Gardner-Webb. FGCU ended 2007-08 with losses in its last 5 road games and has extended that string to 14-straight setbacks outside Fort Myers this season.

Only three players -- Delvin Franklin, Chad Lutkenhaus and Harris Gelin -- return from last year's Florida Gulf Coast squad that posted a 10-21 overall record and 6-10 mark in its first year in the A-Sun. Franklin is averaging 11.7 points per game and has hit 53-134 threes (.396) through 22 games.

Florida Gulf Coast is the lone A-Sun school to defeat East Tennessee State this year, collecting a 64-61 victory Jan. 12 at Fort Myers. Delvin Franklin scored 18 points and the Eagles closed the game on a 15-4 run to defeat the Bucs.

FGCU ranks 2nd among A-Sun schools in defensive field goal percentage (.407) and 5th in scoring defense (69.2 points allowed per outing). In 11 conference games, the Eagles lead the A-Sun by allowing foes to shoot only 39.1 percent from the floor.

Three transfers rank among FGCU's top four scorers this year. Reed Baker (Michigan) leads the club at 13.8 points per game. Kyle Marks (Nebraska) is third on the squad at 9.5, while Derrick O'Neil (Florida CC) is contributing 8.4 per outing. Six-foot-10 transfer George Erkvania, who is averaging 0.7 points in 7.9 minutes per game, was a teammate last year of Campbell junior Miles Taylor at Pensacola JC.

FGCU freshman Christian Wolf is the son of former North Carolina standout Jeff Wolf and the nephew of ex-UNC All-American and 1987 NBA 1st-round draft pick Joe Wolf.

Following Wednesday's game, the Camels travel to Kennesaw State (Saturday) and Mercer (Monday).