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Jan. 12, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -
Campbell improves to 6-9 overall and 2-2 in the A-Sun. The win snapped a 14-game road losing streak dating back to last January. The Fighting Camels travel to Longwood for a non-conference outing Tuesday night at 7:00. Upstate falls to 3-14 overall and 1-2 in the league. The Spartans travel to Nashville to battle Lipscomb Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Despite clawing its way back into the game in the second half, Upstate shot itself in the foot at the free throw line. The Spartans shot just 9-of-23 from the charity stripe for the game and missed six free throws in the final nine minutes to help Campbell hold onto its lead. The Spartans did the job on the defensive end of the court, allowing the Fighting Camels to make just one field goal in the final 10:16 of the game. Campbell, though, won the game at the free throw line, converting 13-of-19 attempts in the final 9:56 alone.
"We didn't deserve to win this game," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "If we can't make more than 39 percent of our free throws, we don't deserve to win. We took too many three-pointers and didn't make free throws. We're not going to win that way."
Upstate started the game cool from the floor as Campbell built an eight-point lead midway through the first half. The Fighting Camels used balanced scoring to take the lead. The Campbell advantage grew to nine points on two occasions before Upstate made a run to grab a lead late in the half. The Spartans used a 7-0 run to get within two, 21-19, with 4:40 to play before the intermission.
After Campbell's Jake Wohlfeil hit a pair of free throws, Upstate ran off seven straight points and Luke Payne's three-pointer gave Upstate a 26-23 lead with 2:33 to play in the half. Campbell battled back, outscoring Upstate 5-1 the rest of the half to take a 28-27 lead going into the locker room.
"I thought it was important for us to get off to a good start on the road," said Campbell head coach Robbie Laing. "I thought our play was fragmented in the first half. We played well to start the game and then they really got into us. They had a great game plan for (Jonathan) Rodriguez and didn't let him touch the ball very often."
Just as Upstate started the game slowly, the Spartans didn't start the second half crisply, either. Campbell's Kyle Vejraska scored seven points in a 13-5 run that gave the Fighting Camels a nine-point advantage, 41-32, with 15:35 to play. Rodriguez pushed the lead to double digits on a layup with 14:28 to play and the lead grew to 13 points, 53-40, on a pair of free throws by Preston Dodson with 9:25 remaining in the game.
Upstate continued to battle and used an 12-1 run over the next six minutes to get within two, 54-52, with 3:45 to play. Bobby Davis had five points during the run. Campbell responded by scoring the next five points as the Fighting Camels built a 59-52 lead with 1:22 to play in the game. Upstate managed to get within five on two occasions the rest of the way, but could not come all of the way back.
Rodriguez, who had a quiet 13 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead Campbell to the win. Wohlfeil finished with 12 points, while Vejraska added 10 before fouling out. Campbell shot 44.7 percent from the floor and was 29-of-42 from the free throw line.
Davis led Upstate with 14 points and eight rebounds. Payne added 12 points, four assists and three steals, while Jeremy Byrd tallied eight points, three assists and four steals. Rashawn Brailsford came off the bench for nine points. Upstate shot 37.9% from the field, including hitting just 6-of-30 three-point attempts.
"This was a very disappointing loss in the locker room," said Payne. "It was different than the other losses we've had. We did enough things to give ourselves a chance to win, but we couldn't make a 15-foot shot (free throw)."