Campbell carries 4-game win streak into Thursday road contest at Gardner-Webb

Jihad Wright
(photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Jihad Wright (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Campbell (14-8, 8-2) returns to the road this week riding a 4-game win streak into Thursday's 7:00 p.m. tip-off at Gardner-Webb (9-12, 4-5).  CU is the midst of playing 4 out of 5 games away from Gore Arena, but has won its last 3 road contests.

The Camels are coming off an 80-73 victory Saturday over VMI.  Eric Griffin scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 4 shots, while Darren White added 22 points, plus career highs of 16 boards and 8 assists.  Lorne Merthie chipped in 14 points, while Marvelle Harris had 10, plus 8 caroms and 4 rejections for CU.

Less than two weeks ago, the Camels defeated Gardner-Webb 74-68 in Buies Creek, thanks to a 12-6 game-ending run.  White (18), Trey Freeman (14) and Rico Ferguson (12) and Griffin (10) led a balanced Camel attack.

Max Landis led Gardner-Webb with 18 points, while Tashan Newsome (17) and Tyler Strange (13) also hit double digits.

In the quirks of the Big South schedule, Campbell has played 3 times since meeting Gardner-Webb on Jan. 14 (including wins at Winthrop and Radford, plus Saturday's victory over VMI), while the Bulldogs have played only once, last Thursday's 56-54 loss at Winthrop.

CU has won its last 3 on the road to improve to 5-7 away from home this season.  Gardner-Webb is 6-1 at Paul Porter Arena, 3-1 vs. Big South teams at home, and has won its last 5 home contests.

Campbell enters Thursday's action ranked 4th in the nation in field goal percentage (.501) behind only Creighton (.514), Missouri (.509) and Coastal Carolina (.505) and ahead of Indiana (.500).

Junior wing Darren White stands 3rd among Big South Conference scoring leaders (18.6).  He has topped the 20-point barrier 9 times -- most among all Big South players.

Senior forward Eric Griffin leads the Big South in field goal accuracy (.617, 7th in the nation) and blocks (2.4), while ranking 2nd in rebounds (8.8) and 7th in scoring (17.0).

Senior guard Lorne Merthie was named Big South player of the week after averaging 16.3 points and shooting 54.5 percent from 3-point range in 3 victories last week.  He tallied all 14 of his points in a comeback win at Winthrop after the Eagles led by 13 with 6:27 left in the 1st half.  He had 19 of his season-high 21 points (5-7 threes) at Radford and added 14 vs. VMI.

Camels and Bulldogs Quick Notes:

  • Campbell and Gardner-Webb have played each other on three different levels.  The teams squared off twice as junior college members in the '50s, then played 3 times as NAIA members in the late '60s-early '70s. 
  • Campbell has won 5 of the last 9 meetings with GWU with each team winning on its home floor.  CU's last win at Boiling Springs was a 79-76 triumph on Jan. 13, 2006.  The Bulldogs won 8 of 12 games in the series when both schools were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
  • Each of Gardner-Webb's nine league games has been decided by 6, or fewer, points.
  • In 9 conference games, Gardner-Webb leads Big South schools in offensive rebounds (13.0 per game), ranks 2nd in rebound margin (+3.2) and scoring defense (65.6 points allowed) and is 3rd in defensive field goal percentage (.423).  GWU is scoring 65.0 points per outing in league play (9th).
  • Gardner-Webb is shooting just 40.8 percent (208-510) from the floor in Big South Conference play, last in the league.  The Bulldogs have connected on just 63.5 percent (115-181) of their foul shots in conference action, 10th (of 11 teams) in the Big South.
  • In conference play, Campbell stands 2nd in defensive field goal percentage (.417) and leads the Big South in blocks (5.2).
  • Campbell has not won 4-straight road games since Feb. 1996 when the Camels defeated Stetson (53-50), Central Florida (70-69), Centenary (75-58) and Southeastern Louisiana (69-65) in the regular season, then won on Stetson's home floor (67-59) in the opening round of the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament.
  • Thursday's game marks a homecoming of sorts for Camel freshman Jihad Wright, who led Gastonia's Hunter Huss High School to the 2011 North Carolina 3-A state title.