It was a game in which ECU just couldn’t get anything going. The Pirates did everything they could just to force overtime against the Campbell Camels in Minges Coliseum, but a slew of bad plays and poor shots from ECU allowed Campbell to leave with an 86-81 victory.
The loss snapped an 11-game home win streak against non-conference foes for the Pirates, dating back to last season. ECU (8-4) also saw its perfect home record for the season fall to 7-1.
The Camels (5-9) picked up their first road win of the season (1-4) and just their second win against the Pirates in Minges of all time. The last Campbell win in Greenville was a 60-58 game on Feb. 27, 1985.
With five minutes to go in the first half, ECU trailed 30-25 following a free throw made by Robert Sampson. The Pirates ended the half by missing their next four shots and allowing Campbell to increase their lead to 11. The score at halftime was 36-25 and the Pirates seemed in for a long night.
A minor storyline this season has been ECU’s tendency to live or die by the three-pointer. In the first half of play, the Pirates went 0-10 beyond the arc and struggled to shoot consistently from just about everywhere. ECU shot 35.5 percent (11-31) from the field and 42 percent from the free throw line (3-7) in the first half.
In the second half, it looked like the Camels would keep running away with the game. The lead increased to 16 (29-45) following a Darren White three-pointer with 15:45 remaining to play. The lead would stay in double figures for the majority of the second half, dropping to nine just twice before the game’s final four minutes.
But with their backs against the wall, the Pirates responded. ECU hit five three-pointers, including three from Akeem Richmond, as a part of a 22-5 run for the Pirates that gave them their first lead of the game with 38 seconds remaining.
A successful jumper by Campbell’s Andrew Ryan tied the game at 71 with 21 seconds to play, but neither team could capitalize as Richmond missed a shot as time expired.
The Pirates seemed to be riding the momentum of their steep comeback, and opened overtime with a three-point lead after the period’s first three and a half minutes. But a dunk by Campbell’s Leek Leek with 1:21 to go gave the Camels a lead that they would not relinquish. ECU was playing without Miguel Paul and Maurice Kemp during this overtime period, as they had both fouled out.
Campbell increased its lead to 86-78 with ten seconds to play, before ECU’s Richmond hit a three-pointer in the game’s final seconds to reach the 86-81 final score.
The Pirates were led in scoring by Kemp and Richmond, who had 18 points each. Kemp also lead the team in rebounds, with 12, and Corvonne Gaines tallied eight assists and two steals to lead the team in those categories.
ECU just could not stop Campbell’s Darren White. White finished with a game-high 25 points with 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. He was the only player on both teams to total more than 40 minutes of play (41).
The Pirates also could not find a way to use their size to their advantage. ECU was out rebounded 42-41 and took 34 three-point attempts, only making eight. The Pirates struggled in field goal percentage (.427) and free throws (9-18) in this game, and had more turnovers than the opponent (17-14).
Campbell used those turnovers to score 23 fast break points. They finished shooting 52 percent from the field, 50 percent from the arc and 61 percent from the free throw line.
The Pirates next game is this Saturday against North Carolina Wesleyan. This will be ECU’s final non-conference game of the season. Tip off is set for 5 p.m.