With the game on the line and time running out, New Orleans wasn’t about to let Campbell’s Chris Clemons — the nation’s fourth-leading scorer — beat it Monday night.
So with the Privateers double-teaming Clemons to deny him the ball, somebody else needed to step up and take the final shot for the Camels in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational.
That someone turned out to be Cory Gensler.
The sophomore guard hit a 15-foot pull up jumper with 0.9 second remaining to give Campbell a 71-69 victory at Gore Arena. The win sends the Camels (18-15) into Wednesday’s tournament semifinal against a yet-to-be determined opponent.
Clemons, who became his school’s all-time leading scorer in Campbell’s opening round victory against Miami (Ohio), scored 35 points for his seventh 30-plus game of the season. His 30-foot jumper as the shot clock expired with 19.8 seconds remaining put the Camels ahead 69-66, but New Orleans’ Ezekiel Charles answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the score with 7.3 seconds left.
With Clemons’ blanketed by the Privateers’ defense, Gensler took the inbound pass and dribbled the length of the floor before pulling up from 15 feet on left wing for what turned out to be the winning shot. It was one of only two baskets the Cary native made in the game.
New Orleans (16-17) was unable to get off a shot before the horn sounded.
Campbell played without second-leading scorer Marcus Burk, who missed the game with an injury. Damontez Oliver helped take up the slack with 13 points while freshman Ja’Cor Nelson finished with eight points in just 12 minutes off the bench.
Clemons scored 23 of his 35 points in the second half to help the Camels rally from a nine-point halftime deficit. They trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, but shot 58 percent over the final 20 minutes to earn their ninth win in their last 10 home games.
Campbell will travel cross-county to play its next game, against San Francisco on Thursday, with Jacksonville State and North Texas in the other semifinal Wednesday. The winners will face off in a best-of-three series for the CBI title.