The 14th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs take aim at their 11th win of the season when they host the Campbell Camels on Wednesday night.
After winning two of its first three games, Campbell entered the Global Sports Hoops Showcase in mid-November and lost three straight to Iowa State (88-68), Cincinnati (91-72) and North Carolina A&T (85-60). The Camels haven't had much luck since the tournament either, losing three of four, most recently falling at home to Rio Grande, 67-65.
Gonzaga was able to rise all the way to No. 10 in the national rankings following an outstanding 9-0 start, which was highlighted by wins over West Virginia (84-50), Clemson (57-49), Oklahoma (72-47) and Washington State (71-69). The Bulldogs hosted nationally-ranked Illinois on Dec. 8 and dropped their first game of the season, 85-74, but they bounced back nicely last Saturday with a 68-52 victory over Kansas State.
This bout marks the inaugural matchup between these two programs on the hardwood.
The Camels trailed by double digits against Rio Grande in the second half only to claw their way back to make it a one-possession game in the final seconds, but they could not complete the comeback. Trey Freeman did all he could to lift him team to victory, tallying 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Leek Leek drained all three of his attempts from beyond the arc on his way to 16 points, while Darian Hooker added 12 points in the setback. Campbell hasn't been the same without Darren White (21.9 ppg) in the lineup, as he has missed the last three contests while nursing a hand injury. White had been ranked seventh in the nation is scoring, but he no longer qualifies since he hasn't played in at least 75 percent of his team's games. In his absence, the Camels rely on a more balanced scoring attack, led by Freeman (13.5 ppg) and Hooker (12.1 ppg). Marvelle Harris isn't a big contributor on the scoreboard (7.5 ppg), but he leads the team by hauling in 7.3 rpg.
Gonzaga has been outstanding shooting the ball through 11 games, as only NC State boasts a better field goal percentage in Division I than its .523 mark. The Bulldogs slipped to 47.1 percent from the field in their latest game, and they finished with well below their season average of 81.4 ppg, but they played outstanding at the defensive end in the 16-point win, forcing Kansas State to commit more turnovers (18) than it had field goals (16). Kelly Olynyk played well in the victory, shooting 10-of-13 from the field in netting 20 points. Gary Bell, Jr. (11 points) and Elias Harris (10 points, seven rebounds) also had solid games. With four players averaging in double figures, Gonzaga has one of the most balanced starting lineups in the nation. Harris paces the squad with 15.9 ppg and 7.9 rpg, and Olynyk (14.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) shoots an outstanding 68.4 percent from the field. Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos both average 10.4 ppg, while Pangos also adds team-highs in assists (3.9 apg) and 3-pointers (20).