There are nights in which basketball players and teams are shooting so well, it seems as though they just can’t miss. Tuesday night in Lynchburg, Va., Campbell — and the duo of Chris Clemons and Marcus Burk in particular — had a night in which they almost didn’t.
The hot-shooting duo made history by combining for 20 3-pointers and 74 of their team’s 94 points as the Camels shot 69.7 percent from beyond the arc in a 94-85 victory at Liberty.
Clemons, a 5-foot-9 junior ranked fifth nationally in scoring, went 10 for 14 from distance on his way to 42 points, breaking his own school record for points in a road game. Burk added 32 points on 10 of 16 3-pointers while combining with Clemons to become the first teammates in Division I men’s basketball history to hit 10 or more treys in the same game.
As a team, Campbell made 23 3-pointers (on 33 attempts) to set a new school record and surpass the Big South mark of 21 made by VMI in a win against Charleston Southern in 2007.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. They were both lights out,” Camels coach Kevin McGeehan told GoCamels.com after the game. “When our team plays together, when we share the ball, we’ve got good shooters, If you’re willing to throw the ball to the next guy and have faith in him making that shot, the ball is going to go in more than it’s not.”
It did right from the start Tuesday.
With Andrew Eudy opening the scoring on a banked trey from the right wing, Campbell made its first five attempts from beyond the arc to open up a quick 14-0 lead. But that was only the beginning. With Clemons and Burk doing most of the heavy lifting, the Camels stayed — converting on 11 of their first 13 3-pointers and 13 of 20 over the opening 20 minutes.
Campbell was so effective from long range that it attempted only nine two-point field goals, making four. It was a performance made all the more impressive by the fact that Liberty came into the game ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense and No. 1 in the Big South in field goal percentage defense at .403.
“When my first three went down and Chris’ first three went down, that’s when I knew it was going to be a good night,” said Burk, a 6-3 sophomore. “Everything just started clicking and all our shots started going down.”
As it turned out, the Camels needed almost all of them.
Liberty battled back to tie the game at 47 early in the second half and twice got to within a single point. But Clemons hit a 3-pointer with just over 13 minutes remaining to spark a 13-4 run that put Campbell back in control.
Clemons’ big night extended his school record of scoring 30 or more points in 13 games. It was his seventh straight with at least 20 points and 69th straight in which he has hit for double figures — the longest active streak in the nation.
“We set a lot of screens, running off screens off the ball,” Clemons, who averages 24.2 points per game, said. “Some of our shots were even contested and we were and were were still making them. We were very fortunate tonight.”
As effective as it was from beyond the 3-point line, it was Campbell’s performance from a closer-range stripe that finally helped it put the game away. The Camels made 9 of their final 10 free throws, including 6 of 6 in one-and-one situations, to win for the first time ever in 10 tries at Liberty’s Vince Center.
The victory was Campbell’s third straight and sixth in its last seven games to improve to 12-9 and 6-3 in the Big South.