Game #9-298: Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Longwood LancersJanuary 12, 2013 2:00 pm
Henry I. Willet, Jr. Hall
Trying to figure out where I want to travel to on any given Saturday during hoops season can be tricky. Since I have the weekends off, I have the flexibility to go wherever I please. When Coastal Carolina has a home game it usually means I will not be traveling too far away since I will have to fit in a game in Conway. When Coastal is away, my options become endless. When looking at where I wanted to go on January 12, there were plenty of games to choose from.
There were two games being played in Charleston, and Wilmington was hosting George Mason. There were also two games being played in Spartanburg along with some Big South contests in Asheville, High Point, and Presbyterian. Any of those options would have been fine, but I was looking for a new destination. Since I have become a fan of the Big South schools, I figured I should try to go up and see the Virginia schools at least once this season. When I saw Longwood would be playing Charleston Southern at 2 p.m. and Liberty was hosting Coastal at 6 p.m., I knew this would work out well.
There would be a matter of a five-hour drive though, which would be the longest I had driven for a game up until this point. I had made plans to meet up with Longwood alum and TMM9er Parks Smith
before the game, but I was running a bit late since getting up early on Saturdays is not my strong point. I did get to meet Parks and his wife at Macado's in Farmville with about an hour to spare before game time.
It was good to meet Parks because it is rare to find a fan that is enthusiastic about being in the Big South. Most fans of teams in the conference usually complain about the weakness of it and wanting to move to a different league. Since Longwood had been an independent for so long, Parks and his fellow alum are just glad to find a landing spot and excited for a chance at a postseason bid.
Farmville and Longwood are not what I was expecting. With a name like Farmville, I was expecting something like Buies Creek where Campbell is located, where there is essentially nothing except the university. Farmville is a decent-sized town though and Longwood was an easy enough campus to navigate. As Parks mentioned in his recap
, he gave me the challenge of trying to find Willett Hall. It was fairly easy as I just took one of the many available parking spots around campus and just followed a small group of people. I can see why Willett Hall could be hard to miss though as the entrance looks like you are going into a small library.
Once I was inside the hall, it reminded me of a newer version of the Chace Athletic Center
where Bryant plays. There is no end seating, and it mostly consisted of bleacher seating except for the first few rows. It does provide a good seat no matter where you sit though, and it was a decent-sized crowd considering what Parks had described in the past few games. With such a low ceiling, it can get quite loud in there.
I cannot help but mention the name Longwood itself and the many lame genitalia jokes I have seen or heard since the Lancers joined the conference. Sure, it is very easy to make fun of the name and it gets old quick, but I was glad to see even Longwood does not take things too seriously.
Going into the game, it seemed like somewhat of a mismatch. Charleston Southern were the preseason favorites to win the Big South and were 2-0 in league play while Longwood was picked to finish last and were struggling with two conference home losses already.
The guard-heavy teams started with a fast pace that was to be expected. Longwood was up early from superhoops from T.T. Carey and Nik Brown. The ability of Charleston Southern's Saah Nimley was a good counter for the Buccaneers, as it seemed like the only time the Bucs were struggling is when they were rushing bad shots and not allowing Nimley to run the offense.
Charleston Southern can go on some big runs with those contested shots that happen to fall, but they changed up their game plan midway through the first half. Longwood had no defense in the post for either Allie Fullah or Cedrick Bowen, as the Bucs would either find them uncovered for a dunk or they were able to get an offensive board and score in the post. I was able to grab a picture of a Fullah slam that came in the midst of a 10-0 run that put CSU up 25-13.
When Longwood stopped turning the ball over, they started making a few shots, but every three or layup was answered with a big shot from Nimley or another defensive breakdown in the paint. The half was summed up with another nifty play from Nimley as he drove, scooped and scored for a 40-28 halftime lead. Charleston Southern ended up outscoring Longwood 24-6 in the paint, and I could tell from Parks' frustration that this was not the first time he had seen a half like this.
The interior defense continued to lag in the second half as Nimley and backcourt mate Arlon Harper got inside with ease. Longwood tried to stay close by getting to the line, but the outside shooting started to heat up for the Bucs. A Nimley three gave CSU an 18-point lead. The Lancers seemed to look like a defeated team, but they had a little push left in them. They were finally able to force some stops on the defensive end and were not allowing the second-chance opportunities they had in the first half. After a Michael "Swiss Army Knife" Kessens driving lay-in. the lead was down to 12.
That would be as close as the Lancers could get. The Bucs came down and Harper buried a three leading to a quick 8-2 run. Charleston Southern continued the barrage they are usually accustomed to from the perimeter and went up by as much as 23. Longwood hit a few shots late to make the final score look closer, but this was all CSU in impressive fashion. They showed they could beat a team in a variety of ways with the inside/outside game. The defense can be a fault at times, but Longwood did not have the firepower to keep up.
I said my goodbyes to Parks and his wife and wished him well on the rest of the season. I would have liked to stick around Farmville a little bit longer to check out the campus and town some more, but I had to get to Lynchburg to make the second game of my doubleheader.