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Campbell responds following loss to Northeastern, dominates Stony Brook 95-77

Buies Creek, NC- If covering the CAA this year has taught me anything, it's that you should never forget that basketball is a game of runs. No matter the record, who's coaching, or the talent on the floor, any team can compete on any given night. This makes the CAA the most competitive mid-major conference in college basketball. This game specifically showcased a battle of very talented guards for both squads. Campbell head coach Kevin McGeehan said pre-game that neutralizing Aaron Clarke and Tyler Stephenson-Moore was going to be a focal point for the Camel's defense.


Stony Brook Men's Basketball guard Tyler-Stephenson Moore
Pictured: Stony Brook Guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore

In Thursday's loss to Northeastern, Campbell lost control of the game early largely due to a lack of energy. In this one, Stony Brook opened play with a 12-2 run, but Campbell took the punch in the mouth and responded, keeping the game close in the first six minutes. Dean Noll, who had thirteen first-half points including 3-5 from three-point range, was a huge part of Stony Brook starting the game off strong. The Seawolves were attacking the Campbell press early, getting long passes deep into the frontcourt. The Camels eventually went away from the press and Stony Brook struggled to score against man-to-man.


Campbell would eventually go on a 23-3 run over 7:06 to hold a commanding 52-38 halftime lead. This was the highest scoring first half for Campbell this season. This lead was largely due to a blistering shooting performance from the field, especially from behind the arc. In the first half, the Camels shot 64.5% (20-31) from the field and 57.1% (8-14) from three, which produced three double-figure scorers at the break in Elijah Walsh (10), Jasin Sinani (12), and Anthony Dell'Orso (11).


The story of the loss to Northeastern in Campbell's previous game was that Northeastern took control of the game early and Campbell never got the momentum to even that up. I asked Coach McGeehan what was key to his team's response after Stony Brook went up 12-2 early:

"We didn't adjust quickly enough and it led to them being able to play fast, almost semi-transition and they were being super aggressive so we switched to our other fullcourt defense to control [the game]. We just have to get this game into the halfcourt because I feel like we can guard them and they are willing to play halfcourt basketball. We were turning them into a transition team because the press wasn't effective...
We really did lockdown at that point [after Stony Brook scored their 25th point]. Because we got a little bit of traction our offense started to play a little bit better as well."
 

Stony Brook came out of the half running a 2-3 zone to try to switch up what Campbell saw defensively. The Camels did not have a hard time adapting to the zone, and their ball movement was the key to getting quality shots on offense to beat the zone. Stony Brook got a strong contribution in the second half from guard Aaron Clarke, who had 8 points in the final twenty minutes. Stony Brook would eventually cut the lead to 12 with 6:34 remaining in the game. Campbell was able to maintain control of the game and would eventually win by 18 points, 95-77.


A solid contributor to the Camel's victory was sophomore guard Omar Harris. Just a few weeks ago against Elon, Harris scored his first points of the season. Against Stony Brook, with 9 points (his career high), 2 rebounds, and 2 assists, and was an impactful presence on the defensive end as well. Here is what Coach McGeehan had to say about Omar after the win over Stony Brook:

"He played terrific. In a lot of ways, Omar is everything I am proud of about our program. Same as I was with Ricky [Clemons], Casey Perrin, Nick Parker, guys that walk through the door and say just give me a shot...this guy is a major contributor to a major league win. That's what it's all about...
Campbell Men's Basketball guard Omar Harris shooting a three-pointer
Photo Credit: Campbell Men's Basketball
For those kids out there trying to play, not everywhere does it the way we do, just get your chance and make the most of it. He goes about his business the right way every day, works hard, has a great attitiude and good things can happen for you. It helps that you're blessed with some athleticism, strength, and natural ability but that alone doesn't take you there...it's because of the dedication, it's tremendous, makes my heart warm."

At 6-6 in conference play, Campbell and Stony Brook sit in a three-way tie with Monmouth for 6th place in the conference. UNCW and Charleston sit atop the standings at 9-3 each, while Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, and Towson are tied for second place at 8-4. The depth and level of competition make every night in this league a must-watch. As we head deeper into February, buckle up for a spectacular finish to the CAA regular season.


Both teams return to action this Thursday, February 15th, 2024. Stony Brook will host Hampton at 6:30 pm EST, while Campbell is on the road at Monmouth at 7 pm EST. Both games will be available to watch on FloHoops. Follow along on X (@TrevorEverette) for more content and read my work for House of College Hoops and House Enterprise here.


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