Rod Camphor got hot at the right time for his team.
Southwestern stopped East Central’s three-game winning streak, and in the process put to rest their own three-game losing streak with an 80-65 victory Thursday night at the Pioneer Cellular Event Center.
The Bulldogs’ win kept them in third place in the Great American Conference standings and knocked the Tigers percentage points out of first and into second place in the league behind Arkansas Tech.
Camphor led the way for SWOSU with a game high 27 points, while hitting all six of his attempts from behind the arc. His 6-of-6 performance from long range set a new school record.
“I just came in with confidence,” Camphor said. “Coach told me that I had to have a great February, not an average one. So I just came in with a lot of confidence.”
Southwestern (13-8, 10-5 GAC) scored 80 points for only the second time in 2014, mainly behind Camphor’s performance.
SWOSU coach Bob Battisti was quick to recognize his senior’s good play and what that meant against such a solid opponent.
“We drew a hot hand,” Battisti said. “Rod made some tough threes.
“Obviously, East Central is well coached. They’ve got a good basketball team and good players. So we needed to be at our best and we played one of our better games tonight.”
Gary Inglett nearly recorded a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Both he and Camphor made 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Battisti felt confident about his team play on defense throughout. But it was run midway through the second half that sent the Bulldogs on in with the win.
“I just think we hit some shots,” Battisti said.
“Our defense for the most part was pretty sound most of the evening. And we got on a little run because we hit some big threes, which got us some separation. Then we were able to bring it home.
“We got that little separation at the right time and our guys were able to take care of the ball and hit some free throws. And we ended up on top.
Only two ECU (14-8, 11-5 GAC) players scored in double figures on the night.
A.J. Moutry went for 19, hitting 4-of-7 three pointers, while Jefferson Ocoro put in 12 with a team high seven rebounds.
Southwestern also got point production from Michael Bradley, who scored 13 points, and Kenyan Borders, whose 12 points all came in the second half.
“He got a lot of points late when they were pressing. He had a lane to the basket. And he did hit a big three on a kick out from Mike Bradley.”
Borders’ big shot came with 9:13 left and his team trailed 54-53. His three gave SWOSU a lead it would not give up.
Battisti was pleased with his guard’s play and a lot more.
“Kenyan has had a good season for us and continues to play well,” Battisti said.
“And I’m really happy with the way he plays, but I’m happy with all our guys. These guys allow you to coach them and they come to practice every day. So I’m fortunate. I have a good group here.”
The Bulldogs’ win, combined with losses by Southeastern and Ouachita Baptist, clinched a playoff berth for SWOSU and helped to make certain the run for the regular season GAC championship would be interesting.
Southwestern hosts a struggling Southeastern squad on Saturday at 4 p.m. East Central continues its road trip in Alva on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Northwestern.