Game #9-280: Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Longwood LancersJanuary 12, 2013 2:00 pm
Henry I. Willet, Jr. Hall
The beautiful thing about mid-major college basketball is that everyone starts the season with excitement and hope. You get to see how new pieces will begin to come together and everyone feels as if they have a shot heading into conference play. In their first year of conference play things were increasingly exciting at Longwood, but things now have become increasingly deflating.
Longwood plays their Saturday games at 2 p.m., which I think is perfect. You get to drive up and grab some lunch and a couple of brews. It's very different from the rush after work for the weekday games, where I usually arrive five or ten minutes before tip-off. This Saturday I had the pleasure of sharing one of those pre-game beers with with fellow TMMer Matt Cayuela, who made the voyage up all the way from Myrtle Beach. I think my wife is still in disbelief of the travel that Matt has indulged in over the past two years merely driven by a passion for college hoops.
Matt asked about parking, how to get to the arena, etc... I told him I wanted him to partake in a bit of a social experiment to see if he could find things out on his own, because often I've spoken with folks in the athletic department about beefing up signage and what not. I'll let Matt touch on this when recaps his travels.
There was a pretty good buzz on campus for Saturday's match up as the students were coming back into town and it was also the first time that ESPN was on campus for the Big South Game of the Week. Apparently Longwood having their games televised is a bit of a curse. We had our first home televised game two years ago and since then we're now 0-4. Maybe we're just more of a radio team.
The buzz and excitement around campus was quickly deflated as it was immediately clear that Charleston Southern was better prepared and simply the better team. 5'8" guard Saah Nimley was dynamite. The Bucs would rotate their offense until they had a match up they could exploit. Longwood found themselves down at the half, 40-28, and a bunch of fans were praying and hoping this thing would turn around, much like they are hoping and praying this whole season turns around. The first half became increasingly frustrating when the refs huddled up for what seemed to be forever for god knows what.
At halftime, I headed back to the Lancers Club hospitality room and brought Matt along. He would ask me "Why don't you...?", "Why not try this...?", but when it comes to Longwood coach Mike Gillian my answer is always "I don't know." Almost every game my wife will ask, "Why doesn't so and so play more?" or "Why don't they give the ball to Mike (Kessens)?", my answer..."I don't know." It's increasingly frustrating when you've watched the same coach for 9 years now, hoping for different results, but ending up with the same when March rolls around.
Longwood played a bit better in the second half and hung with Bucs, but in the end it was a 75-62 loss behind 21 points from Nimley. Oh, and 8 rebounds for a 5'8" guy. Simply, Longwood has been losing every hustle stat there is this season. Tristan Carey was the lone bright spot on the floor and continues to play well in conference play. He ended the day with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
The loss on Saturday puts Longwood at 3-14 on the year. It was the seventh straight game the Lancers have dropped and the fourth straight at home. The home losing streak is the worst mark since the 2004-05 season when Longwood went 1-30. Ken Pomeroy has LU ending the year with a merely five wins, which would be the worst finish for the team since officially becoming a Division I member. Perhaps change is needed, but how do you push for that change and how hard do you push?
Things will not get easier for Longwood as five out of their next six games will be on the road, where the Lancers haven't won all year. Charleston Southern looks like a team that will be playing beyond the conference tournament in March. The Bucs are well coached and talented and have won four straight games and seven of their last eight. The Bucs are 3-0 in conference play and have their next two games in the friendly confines of the enormous Buc Dome.
I'll certainly keep showing up and watching LU play at home and on the road, but as a fan, alumnus, and contributor, how can you avoid hitting your breaking point?
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 75, at LONGWOOD 62
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 8-6 (3-0) -- S. Nimley 8-19 2-4 21; M. Muo 1-5 3-4 5; A. Harper 5-14 7-8 18; J. Sexton 2-8 2-2 8; P. Gombwer 1-5 1-2 3; C. Bowen 4-4 2-2 10; A. Fullah 4-4 0-0 8; M. Kennedy 0-0 0-0 0; S. Strickland 0-5 1-2 1; M. Bernard 0-1 1-2 1; M. Deter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-65 19-26 75.
LONGWOOD 3-14 (0-3) -- T. Carey 5-14 4-4 16; N. Brown 7-16 3-3 18; M. Kessens 5-7 4-4 14; J. Dublin 3-6 3-4 9; D. Robinson 0-4 5-6 5; K. Ziegler 0-4 0-0 0; L. Woodhouse 0-1 0-0 0; M. Parker 0-3 0-0 0; J. Havenstein 0-0 0-0 0; S. Shockley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 19-21 62.
Three-point goals: CHSO 6-25 (J. Sexton 2-6; M. Muo 0-3; S. Strickland 0-3; A. Harper 1-4; S. Nimley 3-7; P. Gombwer 0-1; M. Bernard 0-1), LONG 3-18 (T. Carey 2-8; M. Parker 0-2; D. Robinson 0-2; N. Brown 1-5; L. Woodhouse 0-1); Rebounds: CHSO 41 (C. Bowen 8), LONG 36 (T. Carey 9); Assists: CHSO 14 (S. Nimley 8), LONG 8 (N. Brown 4); Total Fouls -- CHSO 15, LONG 20; Fouled Out: CHSO-None; LONG-None.