Short-handed Camels fall to Rio Grande 67-65

Leek Leek
(Will Bratton photo)
Leek Leek (Will Bratton photo)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – D.D. Joiner scored 23 points and Rio Grande defeated Campbell 67-65 Wednesday night at Gore Arena.

Playing a 3rd-straight game without the nation's 7th-leading scorer Darren White (21.9 ppg), who sat out with a hand injury, the Camels never led against the Red Storm, a member of the NAIA. 

Joiner hit 5-of-9 threes and grabbed 10 rebounds for Rio Grande, which finished with a 56-35 edge on the glass.  Kaleb Kimber added 11 points, while Karl Moore pulled down 12 boards for the Red Storm.

Trey Freeman led Campbell with 18 points, plus 7 assists.  Leek Leek came off the bench to add a season-high 16 on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and Darian Hooker scored 12.  Marvelle Harris added 9 points and 9 rebounds, while Reco McCarter had 9 points and 8 boards for Campbell (3-7).

The Camels held Rio Grande to 35 percent (26-75) shooting, 8-of-23 (.348) from 3-point distance, but surrendered 24 second-chance points off 28 offensive boards.  Campbell shot 39.7 percent (25-63) from the floor, 4-of-15 beyond the arc, and 11-of-16 (.688) from the stripe.

After leading by eight at the break, Joiner hit a jumper to push the margin to 44-34 with 19:22 to go.  Hooker's 3 capped a 10-2 run to cut the gap to 46-44 with 15:12 remaining.  Campbell cut the margin to a single point twice, the last time at 58-57 with 5:31 to go on McCarter's free throws.

Trailing 65-63 with 51 seconds left, the Camels committed their 12th turnover when Harris tried to connect with Hooker on a backdoor layup, but Moore jumped in the lane for the steal.  Moore's stick-back with 13 seconds to go proved to be the decisive points.

Rio Grande opened the game on a 14-2 run, hitting 6 of its first 14 shots, while Campbell missed 5 of its first 6 and had three turnovers during the span.

Leek came off the bench to score 8 points in a 12-0 Camel burst and his jumper in the paint tied the score at 14 with 12:05 left in the half.  Leek hit from the left baseline to bring Campbell with 35-33 with 2:47 left in the half, but the Red Storm ended the period on a 7-1 run and led 42-34 at half-time.

Rio Grande shot just 39 percent (15-39) from the floor before intermission, but hit 5-of-10 threes and converted 14 offensive rebounds into a 10-4 edge in 2nd-chance points.  Joiner score 16 points in the first period, canning 4-of-5 beyond the arc.

Leek (13) and Freeman (10) combined for 23 first-half points on 10-of-15 shooting.  The rest of the Camels made only 3-of-14 from the field before the break.

Campbell travels to No.-14 Gonzaga next Wednesday (Dec. 19); then faces Seattle, Dec. 22 at KeyArena.