Dates with Georgetown and Miami, plus tournaments in Jamaica and St. Petersburg, Fla., highlight the nonconference portion of the 2018-19 Campbell University men’s basketball schedule.
The Camels will also host regional rivals UNC-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina and The Citadel at Gore Arena in Buies Creek, while traveling to fellow mid-majors Ohio and Abilene Christian.
“I’m excited about the schedule,” said sixth-year head coach Kevin McGeehan. “The opportunity to play Miami and Georgetown is really good for our program. Games against marquee teams, television opportunities, those are great for our guys.”
Coming off a second-straight post-season berth and an 18-win season, the Camels open with dates against UNCW on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and Coastal Carolina on Friday, Nov. 9, in Gore Arena. The opener will be the 104th meeting between the Eastern North Carolina rivals. UNCW holds a slight 6-4 edge over the last 10 contests following last year’s 88-84 Seahawk win in Wilmington. Only once over the last 10 meetings has the road team won during the span.
Campbell and Coastal Carolina will meet for the first time since CU’s former Big South rival joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2016. When Campbell hosted the Chanticleers for an ESPNU nationally-televised matchup on Feb. 1, 2014, a record 3,220 fans jammed Gore Arena.
“Having home games with UNCW and Coastal is great for us,” said McGeehan. “Rivalry games against local teams, it’s really exciting to get the season started with that kind of game. Those opportunities should help us begin to build the excitement about the team within our fan base.”
The Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic begins Monday, Nov. 12, when Campbell travels to Mid-American Conference member Ohio for the first-ever meeting between the schools. Last season, the Camels faced a pair of MAC teams, dropping a 78-72 loss to Bowling Green (with leading scorer Chris Clemons sideline with an injury), then defeating Miami (Ohio) 97-87 at Gore Arena in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
The Camels will then meet Florida A&M (Friday, Nov. 16) and Austin Peay (Sunday, Nov. 18) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, where all eight games will be televised live on CBS Sports Network. Campbell and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member FAMU will square off for the first time since the 1979-80 season, while CU will face Austin Peay of the Ohio Valley Conference for the first time in the program’s history.
After returning to Buies Creek, Campbell will then complete its Jamaica Classic schedule on Saturday, Nov. 24, when the Camels travel to the nation’s capital to meet the Hoyas of the Big East Conference.
Campbell heads to Abilene Christian on Dec. 4 before taking an eight-day break for final exams. Last season, Southland Conference member ACU won an 85-80 overtime thriller at Gore Arena.
Campbell will host The Citadel on Dec. 18, marking the fourth-straight year the teams will meet. Three years ago, Chris Clemons set a school freshman scoring record with 31 points in a 101-82 triumph at Gore Arena. In Dec. 2016 at Charleston, the Camels recovered from a 12-point deficit to win 97-91. Last season, Clemons erupted for 32 points in an 87-77 victory in Buies Creek.
Over his first five years as head coach of the Camels, McGeehan has guided his team to an 8-3 record against members of the Southern Conference.
The pre-Christmas portion of the slate concludes Dec. 21-22 with the St. Pete Classic at St. Petersburg, Fla. CU will once again take on Austin Peay in the first round; then play either Alabama State or former Big South rival Liberty the following day.
“Anytime you get into a tournament atmosphere, it’s a different kind of preparation,” said McGeehan. “Going away, playing at a neutral site against teams that are like your level is good for us. You’re playing for a championship, which you hope to be playing for one of those in March. This is sort of a testing ground for that. You can really get your team prepared for playing multiple games in multiple days, which is what you want come March.”
The Camels close 2018 with a Dec. 29 date at ACC member Miami in the first-ever meeting between the programs.
“When you get the chance to play against a bigger conference opponent, where they have size, strength and athleticism, it’s a great measuring stick for our program to see where we stand,” said McGeehan.
Campbell will also host non-Division I members Trinity Baptist (Nov. 29), Central Penn (Dec. 13) and Allen (Jan. 2).
The 16-game Big South Conference schedule — which starts Saturday, Jan. 5, and includes dates against newest league members Hampton and USC Upstate — will be released today.
“Your familiarity with your conference is usually so high, but this year will be a little different because we have two new teams and four new coaches in the league,” said McGeehan. “Playing a non-conference schedule where you don’t know as much about all those opponents, is going to replicate a good portion of the conference schedule this year.”
Campbell returns three starters from last season’s squad that finished 18-16 overall, 10-8 in the Big South Conference, including the nation’s top returning scorer in senior guard Chris Clemons (24.9 ppg). Also back are senior center Andrew Eudy (9.1 ppg, 1.7 bpg) and junior guard Cory Gensler (7.3 ppg).
The Camels are coming off the most combined wins (37) in a two-year span in the program’s Division I history as well as CU’s first-ever back-to-back postseason berths in its D1 era.
Season tickets are available for the 2018-19 Campbell men’s basketball campaign. Call 910-893-1459, email email@example.com or visit GoCamels.com for more information.