Griffin Leads Campbell to 77-61 Win Over Iowa


November 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Campbell built a big lead in the first half. Iowa’s run never happened. Eric Griffin scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked six shots to lead the Fighting Camels to a 77-61 lead over Iowa. Campbell is 5-0 for the first time since 1976, the year before it moved up to Division I. “I couldn’t say I saw this coming,” Campbell coach Robbie Laing said. “I had just as much curiosity as the fans as to what was going to happen.” The Fighting Camels shot 62 percent from the field to overcome 22 turnovers in their second win  against a major conference team in as many years.

Iowa (3-2) cut the deficit to 54-49 with 10 minutes remaining. The Hawkeyes couldn’t get any closer down the stretch. Griffin, a 6-foot-8 senior with a long wingspan, hit 10 of 11 shots. He’s now shooting 75.5 percent from the floor. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Griffin might be the best player his team faces all year.

Darren White scored 17 points for Campbell, which blocked 10 shots. Trey Freeman added 15 points. McCaffery tried several times to ignite his team that looked lethargic from a 23-point loss three days earlier against Creighton. During a media timeout midway through the first half – with the Hawkeyes trailing 18-13 – Iowa’s second-year coach banged his clipboard on the floor and barked directions. McCaffery tossed the clipboard a second time, standing up to yell at his players.

McCaffery shuffled his lineup to start the second half, sitting three starters for reserves. Things boiled over in the final minutes when McCaffery picked up a technical foul. It was too late for Iowa, which shot 36 percent and was outrebounded 34-29. “We didn’t have the defensive intensity you need to play a team of this caliber,” McCaffery said. “I don’t think it was just that. We weren’t executing on offense. We weren’t doing anything effective on either end of the floor.” Matt Gatens led Iowa with 17 points. Devyn Marble added 14 points.

Campbell, which rejoined the Big South Conference this season, made its only NCAA tournament appearance in 1992. Laing said that’s the goal for this team. “These kids think they can win,” Laing said. “They think they’re supposed to win. They really do.” Campbell led by as many 16 points in the first half, using a 12-2 run over a six-minute stretch to build a 38-22 advantage with three minutes left. The Hawkeyes scored the next nine points – including seven from Gatens – to cut the halftime deficit to 38-31. Iowa center Andrew Brommer returned after missing the last two games with a knee injury. He had four points and three rebounds in nine minutes.