BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Ten games against teams that advanced to post-season play a year ago – including dates at NCAA tourney participants NC State and Cincinnati – highlight the 2013-14 Campbell University men's basketball schedule.
First-year head coach Kevin McGeehan's Fighting Camels will square off against a non-conference slate that includes schools from the American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Colonial, Conference USA, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast and Southern leagues.
College Insider Tournament champion East Carolina visits Gore Arena, where the Pirates have yet to win since the building opened in 2008. Campbell will also host Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference members North Carolina Central and Delaware State, in addition to Appalachian State of the Southern Conference.
"The 2013-14 schedule is very challenging with games at Cincinnati, NC State, Appalachian State, Robert Morris, UNC Wilmington and new Missouri Valley Conference member Loyola of Chicago," said McGeehan. "We'll also have ECU, North Carolina Central and Delaware State at home and added a home-and-home series with Georgia Southern. We have 16 games at Gore Arena this year and look forward to competing in front of the home fans."
Sixteen games comprise the non-league portion of the ledger. Defending Big South North Division champ High Point visits Buies Creek on Jan. 8 to open the league slate.
"We believe our non-conference schedule will help prepare us for Big South play," said McGeehan. "We hope to be playing our best basketball next March in Myrtle Beach."
The VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men's Basketball Championship begins with first-round games on Wed., Mar. 5 at Coastal Carolina University's 3600-seat The HTC Center.
Quarterfinal games continue on Fri., Mar. 7 with the top two seeds from each division squaring off against first-round winners. The semifinal round is set for Sat., Mar. 8 and the championship game on Sun., Mar. 9.
Shenandoah University of the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference visits Gore Arena for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off in the season opener on Friday, Nov. 8. The meeting is the first between the Hornets and Camels.
For the fourth-straight season, the Camels will play in an "exempt" event, facing two members of the nation's power conferences. In Nov. 2010, the Camels won at Auburn (61-54), while in Nov. 2011 Campbell knocked off Big Ten foe Iowa (77-61).
The Camels begin play in the Global Sports Shootout on Nov. 12 at Appalachian State. Campbell and the Mountaineers have met in four of the last five years with each team claiming a pair of home-court victories. In Dec. 2011, Appalachian scored a 77-74 win in Boone. However, the Mountaineers have dropped their last two visits to Buies Creek, including last year's 101-82 Camel triumph and a 92-63 CU victory in Dec. 2009.
Last November in Buies Creek, Darren White scored 36 points and the Camels held a 23-0 edge in fast-break points against the Mountaineers at Gore Arena. Appalachian finished 2012-13 with a 15-16 overall record and 10-8 mark in the SoCon. The 2013-14 campaign marks ASU final year as a member of the Southern Conference before the program leaves for the Sun Belt in '13-14.
Campbell heads to PNC Arena on Sat., Nov. 16 to take on North Carolina State in the second of four Global Sports Shootout contests. State leads the all-time series with the Camels by a 9-1 margin, but narrowly escaped an upset two seasons ago when the Wolfpack held off CU 87-81 at Reynolds Coliseum.
CU's lone victory over an ACC school in its Division I (since '77-78) history came on Dec. 4, 1993 at State in a 72-69 overtime decision.
The Wolfpack is coming off a 24-11 mark and NCAA tourney berth in 2013, but lost its top four scorers to graduation or the professional ranks.
Campbell hosts North Carolina Central on Mon., Nov. 18 in its home game of the Global Sports Shootout. The Camels and Eagles met only once previously, an 89-77 CU win Jan. 24, 1979 at the old Raleigh Civic Center.
Central is coming off a 22-9 season in 2012-13 when the Eagles finished 15-1 in the MEAC, but missed out on post-season play after suffering a first-round loss to eventual champ NC A&T in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.
For the second-straight year, the Camels will travel to Cincinnati in the Global Sports event. Now a member of the American Athletic Conference, the Bearcats are coming off a 22-12 campaign in 2013 that included a 9-9 Big East record. UC dropped a four-point decision to Creighton in last year's NCAA tournament second round.
Last November at Fifth Third Arena, UC jumped to an 18-point half-time edge and finished with a 50-28 advantage on the glass in a 91-72 victory. Cashmere Wright led the Bearcats with 28 points, while White topped Campbell with 22.
A weekday matinee follows when the Camels host St. Andrews the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) in a 12:00 noon tip. CU is playing in the afternoon because the annual Harnett County High School Thanksgiving boys and girls basketball tournament runs annually in the evenings Mon.-Wed. before "Turkey Day" at Gore Arena.
Campbell, which has won all 13 previous contests with St. Andrews, last met the Knights in the 2009-10 season opener at Gore Arena when the Camels scored a 76-52 victory over their NAIA counterparts.
The Saturday following Thanksgiving Campbell journeys to Statesboro, Ga., to play the first of two games this year against Georgia Southern. Like Appalachian State, Georgia Southern will depart the SoCon for the Sun Belt following the 2013-14 year.
Last season, Georgia Southern finished 14-18 overall, 7-11 in the SoCon. Former UNC Wilmington standout and College of Charleston assistant Mark Byington is in his first year as head coach of the Eagles program.
Georgia Southern will visit Buies Creek for a 7:00 p.m. tap on Mon., Dec. 30. The teams have not met since the Eagles claimed a pair of games during the 1984-85 season, winning by four at Statesboro and by eight at Fayetteville's Cumberland County Memorial Arena.
A trip to regional rival UNC Wilmington follows on Tues., Dec. 3. Campbell outscored the Seahawks 41-28 in the second half last Dec. 29 to earn a 72-60 victory at Gore Arena. White had 32 points for the Camels, who finished with a 24-8 edge in points off turnovers against Coach Buzz Peterson's Seahawks.
UNCW owns a 54-41 edge in the series, but Campbell has won 3 of the last 5 meetings, with each school coming out on top on its home court. In 2011-12, the Seahawks edged the Camels 67-65 in Wilmington on a tip-in at the buzzer. One year earlier, Junard Hartley's 3 from the left corner in the final seconds lifted the Camels to a 57-56 triumph at Buies Creek.
Following a week-long break for final exams, Campbell returns home for a 7:00 p.m. start on Tues., Dec. 10 against Division II member Chowan. CU last faced the Hawks on Nov. 15, 2008 when the Camels scored a 79-64 victory in the first game played at Gore Arena.
Three days after meeting Chowan, Campbell journeys to the Windy City to meet Loyola of Chicago. The Ramblers (15-16 overall in 2012-13) are entering their first year as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Campbell last faced a MO Valley member in Nov. 2011 when CU fell at nationally-ranked Creighton. That contest capped a three-game trip that saw CU win at Chicago State before knocking off Iowa.
Defending Northeast Conference regular season champion Robert Morris hosts Campbell on Wed., Dec. 18 in Moon Township, Pa. The Colonials won 61-58 last year at Buies Creek and later defeated Kentucky in the first round of the post-season NIT.
The game also marks a return to the home state of Coach McGeehan, a native of Maple Glen, Pa., as well as for assistant coaches Chris Clark (Philadelphia) and Dan Geriot (Springfield), graduate assistant Greg Robbins (Wynnewood) and sophomore transfer Luke Moyer (Souderton).
CU closes its pre-Christmas slate on Sat., Dec. 21 vs. Johnson & Wales in a 2:00 p.m. start at Gore Arena. Last year the Wildcats finished with an 8-24 record that included losses at Division I members NC Central, Coastal Carolina and High Point.
After a break for the Christmas holiday, Campbell plays the second of five-straight home games at Gore Arena against Georgia Southern (Dec. 30). Since moving into the 3095-seat facility in 2008-09, the Camels have amassed a 48-24 (.667) record at home. CU was 8-8 at home last year, but six of those losses came by six, or fewer, points.
For the second-straight season, Campbell opens the New Year against Conference USA member East Carolina with Coach Jeff Lebo's Pirates visiting Gore Arena on Jan. 2.
Campbell has won three of the last four games with the Pirates, including last season's 86-81 overtime triumph in Greenville. ECU recovered, however, finished with a 23-12 record and won the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) post-season tournament.
ECU has yet to win in two previous trips to Gore Arena, falling 74-68 on Nov. 17, 2009 and 76-74 on Nov. 14, 2011 in Buies Creek.
The non-conference portion of the schedule comes to a close on Sat., Jan. 4 at home vs. Delaware State. Campbell has won the 3 previous meetings in the series, but the teams have not played since a home-and-home set in 1985-86.
The Hornets finished 2012-13 with a 15-18 overall mark and 8-8 record in the MEAC. Among the highlights were non-league wins at Delaware (CAA) and Marshall (CUSA) and an overtime loss at Big Ten member Penn State.
With the ESPN BracketBusters ending last year, Campbell will play its final 16 games of the regular season against league competition for the first time since re-joining the Big South in 2011-12.
For the second-straight year, Campbell will play each of its North Division rivals – High Point, Liberty, Longwood, Radford and VMI – twice. CU will face the South Division teams – Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville, Presbyterian and Winthrop – once during the regular season.
The conference schedule starts Wed., Jan. 8 when defending North Division champ High Point visits Gore Arena. For the third-straight year, the Camels will also face High Point on the Panthers' senior day (Mar. 1) to close the regular season.
A year ago, the Panthers won by six (58-52) at Buies Creek then by one (63-62) in the regular season finale at High Point. HPU finished 17-14 overall in 2012-13, 12-4 in the league and advanced to the CIT post-season tourney.
CU travels to Farmville, Va., on Jan. 11 for its first league road contest of the year at Longwood. Campbell and Longwood have split the eight previous meetings with each team winning on the other's home floor in 2012-13. Longwood finished last year 8-25 overall, 4-12 in the league, but upset defending champ UNC Asheville in the opening round of the Big South tournament.
McGeehan and Longwood's Jayson Gee are two of the four, first-year head coaches in the Big South in 2013, joined by Tim Craft (Gardner-Webb) and Nick McDevitt (Asheville). Longwood will also visit Buies Creek on Feb. 15.
Liberty, which claimed the Big South tournament title by winning four games, hosts the Camels on Jan. 14. The Flames finished 15-21 overall last season, 6-10 in the league, but defeated host Coastal Carolina, High Point (top seed in the North), Gardner-Webb (second seed from the South) and Charleston Southern (top seed in the South) in a five-day span to secure the Big South's automatic berth in the NCAA tourney field.
LU swept two games from Campbell in 2012-13, including an 82-80 decision at Gore Arena. Campbell entertains the Flames on Senior Day (Feb. 22) at Gore Arena.
VMI (14-17, 8-8 Big South in 2012-13) visits Gore Arena for the last time as a Big South member on Jan. 18. The Keydets will return to the Southern Conference starting in the 2014-15 academic year. Campbell has won both games against VMI in Buies Creek since the Camels re-joined the Big South in 2011-12.
Last season, VMI won at Lexington, Va., before Campbell earned an 87-78 triumph on Feb. 16 in Gore Arena behind career-high scoring efforts from Andrew Ryan (27) and Antwon Oliver (17). Campbell also travels to VMI Feb. 19.
Radford, which has dropped all 3 games against the Camels over the last two regular seasons, journeys to Buies Creek on Jan. 22. Campbell then visits the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va., on Feb. 26.
The Highlanders (13-19, 7-9 in 2012-13) were unable to overcome a 15-point half-time deficit in a 69-60 loss at Buies Creek last season. Campbell, however, rallied from an 8-point hole at the break at Radford and won 72-66 in overtime as Ryan contributed 20 points, including 4 triples.
Campbell travels to Gardner-Webb Jan. 25 to open its string of games against South Division foes. Last year, the Camels knocked off the Bulldogs 93-81 in triple overtime at Buies Creek behind Darius Leonard's 16-point, 15-rebound double-double.
GWU, however, eliminated CU in the Big South quarterfinal round en route to a 21-13 overall mark, 11-5 record against the league, and at berth in the CIT post-season event.
Defending South Division champ Charleston Southern visits Gore Arena Jan. 29. The Bucs (19-13, 12-4 in '12-13) advanced to the Big South final in 2013 and participated in the post-season NIT.
Charleston Southern has won the last two games against Campbell at the 881-seat CSU Field House. Campbell defeated CSU 62-57 on Feb. 2, 2012 in the last game between the schools at Gore Arena.
Coastal Carolina (14-15, 9-7 in '12-13) also travels to Gore Arena Feb. 1 for the only regular season game between the schools in 2013-14. Coastal won the lone contest with CU last year at Conway, S.C., after Campbell swept two games from the Chants in '11-12.
Since returning to the Big South in '11-12, Campbell has yet to defeat UNC Asheville in three tries. The Camels will get their only chance of the 2013-14 regular season on Feb. 5 at Asheville.
UNCA (16-16, 10-6 in '12-13) won at Buies Creek last year, but was an upset victim to Longwood in the first round of the conference tournament after winning the two previous Big South titles.
Campbell will look for its fourth victory over Winthrop in five chances on Feb. 8 at Rock Hill, S.C. Last season, the Camels clipped the Eagles 63-59 in Buies Creek. In that game, Campbell's five starters accounted for all of the team's points, marking the first time since a 60-53 loss to James Madison on Jan. 5, 1980 at the old Raleigh Civic Center that no one scored off the CU bench.
Winthrop led the Big South in team field goal percentage defense (.403) and finished 14-17 overall, 6-10 in the Big South last year under first-year coach Pat Kelsey.
Presbyterian (8-24, 4-12 in '12-13) travels to Buies Creek Feb. 12 for the Blue Hose' only game with the Camels of the '13-14 regular season. CU defeated PC 62-46 last year at Clinton, S.C. The Camels then downed Presbyterian 81-73 in overtime in a Big South tournament first round contest. CU has won 3 of the 4 games between the teams since re-joining the league in '11-12.
Seven of Campbell's top 10 scorers return from the 2012-13 squad including senior forward Marvelle Harris (8.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg), junior wing Reco McCarter (8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and junior guard Andrew Ryan (7.1 ppg, 1.7 apg).