Gardner-Webb ends Campbell’s NCAA tournament bid

The top-seeded Camels await NIT destination after falling in the semifinals of the Big South Conference tournament

Gardner Webb's Jose Perez dribbles while defended by Campbell's Isaac Chatman during Friday's Big South Conference semifinal in Buies Creek (Big South Conference photo)

BUIES CREEK (AP) — Jose Perez had 19 points to lead five Gardner-Webb players in double figures as the Runnin’ Bulldogs narrowly beat Campbell 79-74 in the Big South Conference Tourney semifinals on Friday night.

The NCAA’s leading scorer, Chris Clemons, had 23 points for the Fighting Camels (20-12) as his last chance for an appearance in the NCAA Tournament was dashed by the loss. Gardner-Webb (22-11) will take on second seeded Radford on Sunday for the tournament title and the Big South’s automatic NCAA bid.

Clemons finished the night with 3,193 points, remaining fourth on the all-time NCAA scoring list. He can still pass Lionel Simmons (3,217) for third and Freeman Williams (3,249) for second as Campbell will receive an automatic bid to the NIT as the regular-season champion of the Big South.

The 32-team NIT bracket will be revealed Sunday, Mar. 17 at 8:30 p.m.

Cory Gensler added 20 points. Isaac Chatman had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Camels.

DJ Laster added 17 points for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Eric Jamison chipped in 14, Nate Johnson scored 10 and Jaheam Cornwall had 10. Jamison also had six rebounds for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.