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Hampton wins Joshua Lusane's return to Campbell, 72-68 for their second CAA victory

Buies Creek, NC- We are just two weeks away from tournament basketball taking place in the nation's capital. With just three games remaining in the CAA men's basketball schedule, every game matters for seeding implications even more. Hampton is fresh off of an upset win over Towson and Campbell is coming off of back-to-back road losses to Monmouth and Drexel. Many coaches and players in this conference have been quoted saying: "The CAA is a tough league with a lot of talent", and this matchup between the 10th-ranked Camels and the 14th-ranked Pirates was no different.


The theme for the first half was that no team ever took control of the game. The Pirates were without their leading scorer and rebounder, Kyrese Mullen with a shoulder injury. Mullen averages 15.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, so undoubtedly his contributions will certainly be missed. The Pirates got a 12-point first half on 5-16 shooting from the field from guard Jordan Nesbitt. He was playing with an extreme confidence that, despite the shooting numbers, was unwavering. He also finished the first half with 7 rebounds. Anthony Dell'Orso was the Camel's most consistent contributor in the first half with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 3-4 from the field, 2-3 from three, and 4-4 from the free throw line.


Basketball always has been and always will be a game of runs. The first half saw Campbell gain its largest lead of the game, 6, with 5:17 remaining in the half. It felt like for a moment there that they had an opportunity to end the half strongly, however it was Hampton who did so. The Pirates ended the half hitting 4 of their last 5 field goal attempts and the final one gave them a 33-31 lead at the break. I sound like a broken record when I consistently say how important the final five minutes of the first half are to a team's second-half momentum, and today was an example of that as Hampton played well down the stretch of the first half and would eventually win the game.


 

From a shooing perspective standpoint, the second half was much of the same. Both teams were having off nights and one player on each side was attempting to carry the load. The defensive intensity picked up for both teams and slowed the game down for the first ten minutes of the first half.


The stretch that stuck out was the drought from the field that Hampton went on for 6:40. From 7:39 remaining in the game till 59 seconds remaining, the Pirates did not score a field goal. They did make 7 free throws in that stretch, which ended up being a huge reason for their victory. Despite Campbell cutting the deficit to 2 points in the final minute twice, the dagger came from a Jordan Nesbitt three-pointer with 59 seconds remaining. That was his 22nd field goal and 10th three-point attempt of the game but also the single most important. Hampton would hang on and win its second conference game of the year by a score of 72-68.


 

Hampton forward Joshua Lusane spent the first four years of his college career at Campbell, appearing in 112 games. This was a homecoming that ended in his new school getting the road victory. I spoke to Joshua after the game about his return:

"The moment felt good. I spent my whole four years and I am blessed enough that they [Campbell] had me as part of their program. We went to two Big South Championships and I had a lot of good memories here."
Hampton men's basketball forward Joshua Lusane shooting a shot with his right hand
Photo Credit: Peter Casey / For The Virginian-Pilot

I also asked if he felt scouted extra hard by the Camels:

"Probably. Some of the stuff they were calling was some of the same stuff [when I was at Campbell]. Just have to keep on hoopin'."

I asked Campbell head coach Kevin McGeehan about what it was like to have Joshua back in the building:

"He's a terrific kid and I think so highly of him. He was a really good player for us and also a great ambassador for Campbell. Brayden [Team IMPACT], who is our adopted player on the team, [Joshua] was great with him. He is a great student and it's always good to see his smiling face. I would've liked for us to come out on the good side of this one though."

Campbell forward Laurynas Vaistaras has spent the last four years of his college career at Campbell and spent three of those years with Joshua. I asked him what it was like to compete against his former teammate:

"It is interesting to play against Josh. It feels like he was just here and now he is on the opposite team. When you fit the floor, at first it's nice to play against each other but then at the same point, you want to compete more to prove yourself. Who is better? There is competitiveness on the basketball court but overall when the game begins it doesn't matter who you play. Before and after the game we are buddies. It is nice to see Josh."

With the transfer portal, it opens up a lot more opportunities for these kinds of reunions to happen, but there is no doubt both Joshua and the Camels have the utmost adoration for one another even if Joshua and his new team got the win in Buies Creek.


 

Hamptons' next game is on Saturday, February 24th, 2024 at noon EST at Northeastern. It can be viewed on FloHoops. Campbells' next game is on Monday, February 26th, 2024 at 8:30 pm EST. The Camels will attempt to get revenge at home against UNCW on CBS Sports Network. I will have LIVE coverage from Buies Creek, NC for that matchup on Monday. 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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