Charleston Southern played most of Wednesday night's game at Campbell without two of its best offensive players, and it showed.
The Buccaneers shot only 33 percent from the field, including a 6 for 29 effort from beyond the arc, and dropped a Big South Conference matchup to the Camels, 65-57.
CSU slips to 9-11 overall on the season and falls to 3-4 in Big South play with its second consecutive league loss. Campbell, the leader of the Big South's North Division, improved to 11-11 overall and 5-2 in league play.
Charleston Southern played the entire game without junior two guard Arlon Harper, and junior point guard Saah Nimley limped through about seven minutes of playing time in the first half before spending the second-half with ice on his injured knee.
Senior guard Matt Kennedy shouldered the load, scoring a game-high 20 points for Charleston Southern, but it was hardly enough firepower.
Seldom-used senior guard Mitchell Deter did provide a spark with three 3-pointers in the second-half and junior forward Paul Gombwer recorded a career-high 16 rebounds. Those were the few highlights of the night.
Senior Sheldon Strickland got the start for Nimley at point guard and suffered a miserable night offensively. Strickland, who came into the game averaging 9.2 points per game as a reserve, missed all nine of his 3-point attempts and finished two of 17 from the field overall.
"We had a tough night, a tough time creating shots, but this basketball team tried very hard and gave a great effort," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "I thought we showed some good signs defensively and some guys played well. We just have to keep working, stay positive and continue to work towards being the best team in late February and early March."
CSU grabbed an early 11-6 lead as both teams struggled offensively from the outset. Campbell, however, got hot over the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Camels made six consecutive 3-pointers during a decisive 28-13 run and held a 38-29 halftime advantage.
Campbell opened the game by making two of its first 12 field goal attempts but ended the half making 11 of the 12 shot attempts.
"With the exception of that seven or eight minute stretch where they couldn't miss, I thought we did a lot of good things defensively, which is a positive that we can take from this game," said Radebaugh.
The lead ballooned a few times to 13 points during the second-half but Kennedy and Deter managed to trim the margin to 57-50 with 2:45 remaining. That was as close as CSU would get down the stretch.
Campbell would finish with the game with 11 3-pointers while CSU's six makes were barely half of their season average of 11.2 per game.
Charleston Southern returns home to face Liberty on Saturday evening, seeking to avoid a three-game conference losing streak. The game is a rematch of last year's Big South Conference tournament championship game, which was won by Liberty.
Radebaugh indicated that Harper is still out for Saturday's game and Nimley remains day-to-day.
"I applaud Saah's courage for trying to go tonight but it was obvious he was in some pain and he could not be effective," said Radebaugh. "Hopefully with some treatment he can feel better for Saturday but we're not going to push him before he is ready."
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