BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Trey Freeman led five Campbell players in double figures with 20 points and Campbell rallied to defeat East Carolina 76-74 Monday night at Gore Arena.
Campbell (2-0) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the first half to match the largest comeback to in Coach Robbie Laing's nine seasons in Buies Creek.
Rico Ferguson hit the first of two free throws with 5.7 seconds to play, giving the Pirates a chance to tie. Miguel Paul drove the length of the floor and dished to Paris Roberts-Campbell in the right corner, but his 3 at the buzzer bounced off the rim, sending many of the near-capacity crowd of 3028 on to the floor in celebration.
A freshman from Virginia Beach, Freeman finished with 20 points – two shy of the total he scored last Friday in his collegiate debut against Houston Baptist. The point guard made 12-of-12 from the line and chipped in four assists and three steals. Eric Griffin added 13 points in just 24 minutes before fouling out.
Rico Ferguson tallied a career-high 12, while Darren White added 11 points, 10 boards and seven assists. Antonio Kalpic came off the bench to score 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the line.
Paul led East Carolina (1-1) with 20 points on 3-of-14 from the field and 13-of-17 from the line, plus 8 assists. Robert Sampson added 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Austin Steed contributed 12 points and Darrius Morrow 10.
Campbell defeated East Carolina for the second time in as many opportunities at Gore Arena, which opened in 2008. The Camels claimed a 74-68 victory over the Pirates on Nov. 17, 2009.
East Carolina made its first three 3-pointers of the night and led 32-17 when Sampson connected from long range with 8:07 to play in the opening half. However, the Camels clawed back within 10 at the break.
Steed hit a pair of free throws to put the Pirates in front by 11 (60-49) with 11:20 to play, but the Camels responded with a 15-4 run. Marvelle Harris and Griffin had old-fashioned 3-point plays and Harris scored on a drive down the lane to end the flurry with an 8-0 burst that tied the contest at 64 with 6:09 remaining.
The Camels led 67-66 after Paul made 1-of-2 from the line with 4:09 to play, but Erin Straughn fouled Freeman on a loose ball and Paul was whistled for a technical foul in the aftermath.
Freeman hit four-straight free throws, then stole the ball from Shamarr Bowden on the ensuing possession and raced down the floor for a lay-up with 3:31 to play to give the Camels a 73-66 lead with 3:31 remaining.
ECU rallied, however, and tied the contest at 73 on Sampson's free throws with 28 seconds to go. Just 10 seconds later, however, Anthony Horton sank a pair at the other end to put the Camels ahead for good (75-73).
Paul made one-of-two from the line to draw ECU within 75-74 with 8 seconds to go before Ferguson hit from the line to set up the final sequence.
Campbell shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, 46.8 percent (22-47) on the night. The Camels converged 31-of-41 from the foul line (.756) and turned 18 ECU miscues into a 20-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
After hitting 51.9 percent from the floor (14-27) in the opening East Carolina shot only 24 percent (6-25) in the second half, including 1-of-14 from 3-point range. The Pirates finished 28-of-39 (.718) from the line.
Despite holding a 41-29 edge on the glass, including 14 offensive rebounds, East Carolina finished with only 10 second-chance points.
The Camels conclude their 3-game home stand Thursday at 7:00 p.m. against North Carolina A&T. ECU hosts Coker Thursday (7:30).