“I was pleased with the way the team played,” Perry Head Coach Brett Hardy said. “I didn’t know what to expect from Campbell. Looking on the internet, it looks like they’ve been blowing people away.
“I think they (the Panthers) managed the game a lot better … we’ve managed it a lot better the past two games, actually … You give people a chance to hold onto the ball more, you have a better chance to win.”
Perry did that better than Campbell in the first quarter. They gave up the first five points but then rallied – Dadra Ragin, who finished with 12, connecting at the five-minute mark. Ryan McGhee following him with two from the field and Rashad Tolliver doing likewise to give them their first lead, 6-5, with 4:30 still left on the clock. Even better, McGhee’s three – he had three in all, two of those coming in the first – made it 9-5. The Spartans fought back to tie it at 11 but Perry made the next six – McGhee’s treys – to lead 17-11 after one.
Although it was tied three times during the second quarter, the Panthers never surrendered the lead. In fact they led by seven, 22-15, three minutes in. By the half it was tied again, this time at 30.
Ragin with a layup gave Perry the lead again to start the fourth. It held until there was 4:38. Campbell tied it a 37 and then went ahead 39-37. The two were tied at 39, tied again at 41 but the Spartans grabbed the lead again at 41-39. Heading into the final period they were still up by four, 45-41.
McGhee with a short jumper tied it at 47 with 6:16 left to play but Campbell went back on top with the trip up the floor following. It never relinquished it from there even though it couldn’t pull away. Perry kept it to within a point – no higher than three – until there was 17 seconds left. The Spartans with two free throws went up 60-56.
Cortez Riley, who along with McGee finished with 13, made it 60-58 with two free throws. Perry fouled to send a Campbell player to the line. He made one-of-two. The Panthers called a timeout with :14.2 showing to set up the final shot. It was inbounded, passed to Tyler Hendrick – who finished with nine points and did a real good job of keeping it from sailing out of bounds. He took a shot at a three but it hit the rim. The Spartans grabbed the rebound and ran out the remaining few seconds.