Game #9-116: Dartmouth at Longwood LancersDecember 1, 2012 2:00 pm
Henry I. Willet, Jr. Hall
December 1 was a day I had marked off on my calendar for quite some time. First off, who doesn't like it when the calendar turns to December? College basketball continues to heat up, the holidays are here... I mean who isn't happy? I was excited about Saturday because it would be my first MidMajority doubleheader of the year. It was one of those rare Saturdays where everything aligned perfectly so I could go to the Longwood game at 2PM and travel back to Richmond just in time to grab a beer or two and catch the Richmond game at 6PM. I was going to make it a "triple-header" with VCU-Belmont, but unfortunately the Rams were playing at 7PM, which killed the logistical dream of three games, three venues, one day.
Saturday afternoon games at Longwood are always a mixed bag. The student side is generally packed for weekday night games but Saturday at 2PM is the ultimate wild card. You never know if it's going to be a rowdy, full crowd or if all of the students are sleeping off Friday night activities. Saturday's game was also unique because it was the last home game until January 26 when the students will be in session. Longwood will have four home games between now and late January without the students on campus, which is always a bummer. I was pleased when I walked into Willett Hall to see that the students were in full force and even painted up for the game. It's moments like this that shows how much Longwood has changed, in terms of school spirit, from when I went to school there.
The other thing I noticed when the game was starting were the shoes of Dartmouth's Jvonte Brooks. I don't know if Brooks robbed the Baylor locker room after the NCAA tournament last year or what, but his shoes made me want to put my sunglasses back on. He definitely took the name "Big Green" to a different level.
For the second year in a row Longwood was playing two Ivy League schools. Last year the Lancers visited both Brown and Dartmouth. This year Longwood would be taking on Cornell and Dartmouth just a week apart. It was evident (SPECULATION ALERT) that Dartmouth coach Paul Cormier had spent some time talking to the Cornell coaching staff about their win against Longwood a week ago in Las Vegas. The story easily for Longwood this year has been the emergence of Swiss freshman Michael Kessens. Kessens dropped 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against Cornell. Dartmouth's game-plan, especially in the first half, was to swarm Kessens in the post every time he received the ball. The strategy worked as the Big Green held the "International Man of Mystery" to just 5 points and forced him to turn the ball over 8 times.
Another reason I was pretty excited about Saturday's game is that it was a pretty comparable match up. Dartmouth was a little more experienced, but Longwood was a little more talented. This game was going to be a barometer for where both teams were at in this point of the season. I was a happy camper at halftime and at the start of the second half as Longwood went up by 8 points. But as I'm sure everyone has experienced before, the bottom dropped out and the Big Green went on an 18-2 run. The game then turned into one of those scrappy last five minutes where the losing team is trying everything to claw back into the game. Sadly, Longwood was unable to get over the hump and ended up losing the contest by 8 points.
I don't mind losing and rarely go home angry, (heck! Longwood has lost 167 games since I first came to campus) but Saturday was one of those games. Longwood is a very young team and it shows on the court as they are averaging 20 turnovers per game. But I guess with the excitement of going into the Big South and having the most talented recruiting class in the history of the school you can be a little disappointed. Many of our losses I'm left with the impression of "hey, this is something we can build off of", but that was not the case on Saturday. Rather this was a bad loss, where a team was tentative and did not value the basketball.
My season tickets for Longwood are right behind the opposing coach. I picked these seats with the intentions of talking a little smack when I graduated. I've grown up a little since then and enjoy being about five feet away from the coaches huddles. It is always fun to see how different coaches do their job, some are relaxed, some yell, and some seem like they have no idea what's going on. Interestingly enough, some coaches with have an open dialogue with me throughout the game. I took a friend of mine to his first Longwood game last year and he was astounded at how the referees and Seattle University's head coach Cameron Dollar would have a conversation with me throughout the game. I've even grown to have an interesting relationship with (my boy!) Horace Broadnax at Savannah State over the years.
Dartmouth's coach was a cool cucumber on the Big Green's sideline, which I would expect from an Ivy League coach. Coach Cormier was in his third year as the head coach and was only able to win 10 games in his first two season with the Big Green, a school that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1959. You could tell though that Cormier was a patient coach and was very active with his team. Dartmouth brought a level of passion in a game they clearly could have given up on. I found this even more impressive since Dartmouth is in the midst of an 8 game road trip where they would travel to Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont, Arizona, and Connecticut. They will not see the friendly confines of Leede Arena again until January 5.
O well.... time to head back to Richmond.DARTMOUTH 61, at LONGWOOD 53
DARTMOUTH 2-3 (0-0) -- N. Hutcheson 3-12 6-8 13; A. Mitola 2-7 4-6 10; J. Golden 6-10 0-2 16; G. Maldunas 8-18 3-6 19; J. Brooks 1-3 4-6 6; M. Gill 0-1 0-0 0; T. Melville 1-3 0-0 2; T. Carpenter 3-6 0-0 6; C. Boehm 0-2 0-0 0; K. Crescenzi 0-1 0-0 0; M. McKearney 0-1 0-0 0; B. McDonnell 0-1 0-0 0; M. LaBove 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-54 11-20 61.
LONGWOOD 2-6 (0-0) -- D. Robinson 10-15 0-0 21; M. Kessens 2-8 1-2 5; T. Carey 3-12 0-0 7; N. Brown 1-5 1-2 3; F. Holloway 3-9 0-0 7; K. Ziegler 1-3 1-1 3; J. Dublin 2-2 1-2 5; L. Woodhouse 1-2 0-0 2; J. Havenstein 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 4-7 53.
Three-point goals: DART 6-14 (J. Golden 4-5; M. McKearney 0-1; C. Boehm 0-1; A. Mitola 2-6; B. McDonnell 0-1), LONG 3-12 (T. Carey 1-6; D. Robinson 1-4; F. Holloway 1-1; L. Woodhouse 0-1); Rebounds: DART 32 (J. Brooks 7), LONG 35 (M. Kessens 9); Assists: DART 15 (A. Mitola 6), LONG 12 (N. Brown 3); Total Fouls -- DART 13, LONG 21; Fouled Out: DART-None; LONG-None.