UNION TOWNSHIP (N.J.) - Saint Louis commit Cian Medley refrained from using profanity, but let it be known that Camden coach Maalik Wayns used explicit language to motivate him after a dreadful first quarter.
The Panthers' point guard struggled in the opening frame against Don Bosco Prep and was quickly subbed out.
"After that first quarter, I put a lot of that on my leadership," Medley said. "I don't want to use profanity, if you know you know, (but) he told me I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do. As a leader, as a point guard and even as a basketball player. He challenged me."
Medley responded with nine points in the second quarter to help erase a 14-point deficit and alleviate the Panthers' shooting woes.
The point guard's rapid adjustment ignited a 14-10 run to close the half. 6-foot-8 wing forward Dasear Haskins buried a three-pointer from the corner with two seconds left in the second period to cut Camden's deficit to eight points at halftime.
The Panthers subsequently outscored Don Bosco Prep 52-29 in the second half to secure an 83-68 come-from-behind victory in the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic at Kean University's Harwood Arena on Friday night.
Camden improved its record to 8-1 and made a statement against a nationally-ranked opponent after falling to Columbus (Fl.) on Wednesday evening.
"It's good to get back on track," Medley said. "Just being able to bounce back from that was good for us especially against a good team in a good environment."
The Saint Louis commit charted 18 points and five assists against Don Bosco Prep.
Kentucky signee D.J. Wagner tallied a team-high 20 points in the triumph. The No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2023 shot 1-for-12 from the field in the first half, but was able to capitalize later on by attacking downhill, and getting into the lane under control and switching hands at the rim to finish.
Wagner also contributed eight rebounds and six assists.
"At halftime, coach talked to us a little bit," Wagner said. "That just gave us a whole different approach to the game. That second half, we felt like ourselves and we showed who we truly are."
Fellow Kentucky commit Aaron Bradshaw battled through foul trouble and still finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks despite having four fouls. The senior utilized his length to shoot over defenders and exhibited improved footwork in the low post and on turnaround jump shots.
Brady Loughlin sank four triples in the first half to help the Ironmen establish distance. The Panthers struggled to eliminate open space on the perimeter which enabled Loughlin to get into a rhythm from beyond-the-arc.
Loughlin scored 14 points in the first half.
"Going into the game, the emphasis was number 30 is a shooter," Medley said. "We didn't follow that game plan going into the first half. That's something we got to pride ourselves on - playing hard and playing defense. He was getting open shots because one thing we weren't doing was playing hard and playing defense."
Camden adjusted and held Loughlin scoreless in the second half.
Five-star recruit Dylan Harper scored 20 of the Ironmen's 29 points over the final two quarters. The junior tallied a game-high 36 points in front of a packed house of spectators that included two-time NBA champion J.R. Smith, former NBA forward Tim Thomas and Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell.
Courtside seats were also reserved for New York Jets wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore, although neither player was spotted. Wilson is an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. The event was also broadcasted on SHOWTIME's YouTube channel.
Four-star recruit Billy Richmond scored all 11 of his points in the second half for Camden. Albany commit Cornelius "Boog" Robinson provided six points and 11 rebounds, and Haskins added 10 points.
"It was because of coach at halftime," Richmond said. "He gave us an inspirational quote. He just got on everybody saying we need to bring energy.
"(In the first half) I just feel like we was too worried about hitting shots. We weren't worried about the next play. Coach always tells us, worry about the next play, don't worry about the previous play."
The junior has been a welcomed addition to the Panthers' boys basketball program. Richmond's electrifying play has wowed fans and offered shifts of momentum for Camden in pivotal spots.
The junior also received an offer from Kentucky on December 30. Wildcats assistant coach Chin Campbell made the phone call and handed the phone to head coach John Calipari in the process.
"I'm just shocked," he said. "He called me out of nowhere and said I'm going to give you a full scholarship. I was shocked. I couldn't really say nothing."
Playing in front of NBA players, NCAA Division I coaches and passionate fans helps provide Richmond, and other teammates with aspirations of playing high-major college basketball, with valuable experience in high intensity atmospheres.
"It's a good atmosphere," Richmond said. "I'm playing with the best. I feel like it'll just prepare me for college."