Game #9-348: Presbyterian Blue Hose at Longwood LancersJanuary 26, 2013 2:00 pm
Henry I. Willet, Jr. Hall
When I think things are going bad with Longwood basketball I just try to think back to 2004-05, my freshman year on campus when my Lancers went 1-30 with their only win coming against Howard. Since then, Longwood only has one winning season under their belt, but things always seemed to be more or less competitive. It seems like those "feel better" vibes from the debacle that was the 04-05 season has finally worn off.
Longwood was coming off a tenth straight loss this year and a thumping on the road to their rival Liberty. Things are bad in Farmville and a lot of people are not happy and vocally so. Most of the vitriol is aimed at our tenth year head coach Mike Gillian, and I can't say that those thoughts are misplaced. The only good thing going into last Saturday was that Presbyterian was coming to town.
The 4-16 Blue Hose were looked at as, potentially, the only team worse in the Big South. PC had only one conference and DI win heading into last Saturday's match up and that was against Liberty at home. On paper this would be the only game that Longwood would be favored in the rest of the year. It was hard to feel optimistic, but when you're in the midst of a double-digit game losing streak thinking that you have a chance to win may be as optimistic as things get. So we got in the car for the hour drive to Farmville with some sense of hope in our heart.
Watching a losing streak of this magnitude is pretty hard, but its also interesting. Basically when you arrive at the arena you really don't know what to expect. Will you see an angry team, a hungry team, or a depressed team just looking to go through the motions. It's even more interesting when you're playing a team that has struggled on the same level that you have. With all that being said, I had no idea what to expect out of Longwood or PC. Longwood was fired up two games ago to play UNC Asheville (and nearly knocked them off), but against Liberty the team was flat and looked disinterested.
I had never seen PC play before, but I'm aware of the brief Big South and Division I history. I also had heard that the Blue Hose play at a notoriously slow pace. I thought maybe that slow pace equals low energy, but I couldn't had been more wrong. When you're a team like Longwood and come in favored with a decent home crowd then you want to come in with energy and try to step on your opponents throat early. The exact opposite happened and PC came out with an energy that Longwood never matched. I credit most of it to longtime head coach Gregg Nibbert. Apparently Nibbert has been at PC since the beginning of time, but the man coached with a lot of energy and passion. He never sat down and never stopped pacing the sideline and talking. Nibbert's enthusiasm paid off as the Blue Hose went into halftime 39-36.
I don't know what goes on in a Longwood locker room at halftime, but the Lancers always come out looking like they just ate a Chipotle burrito and about to go into a coma. My grandpa would always say the first five minutes of the second half were the most important part of a basketball game. Apparently Mike Gillian never got that memo. Every game it seems that the other team shoots out to a double-digit lead and Longwood is forced to play catch up. They usually do catch up around the four minute mark, but then look exhausted and falter down the stretch. Saturday's game was no different and same script seemed to play out. Starting point guard Lucas Woodhouse looked the most exhausted playing all 40 minutes for Longwood.
I reached a pretty strong frustration level with about three minutes left on a botched out of bounds call. PC took a 30 second timeout and all the Blue Hose players sat down. I quickly yelled at the ref "YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN ON A 30 SECOND TIMEOUT!" I've never seen five basketball players move so quickly in unison. My attempt to rob the Blue Hose of their rest didn't work as Longwood would fall to second worst rated team in the country, 82-71.
I think I reached the point of disgust, finally passing that of frustration. After 10 years you just kind of see what someone new could do at the helm, especially when you care about a school and a program so much. I know I'll see my Lancers in Dayton or a NCAA tournament site one day, but I'd just like to get back to playing some competitive basketball at the very least.
PRESBYTERIAN 82, at LONGWOOD 71
PRESBYTERIAN 5-16 (2-5) -- K. Mutakabbir 10-17 6-6 29; E. Washington 2-6 6-6 10; J. Downing 6-14 2-2 15; J. Clyburn 1-4 0-0 2; R. Hargrave 4-5 0-0 9; W. Truss 4-7 0-0 8; R. McTavish 3-4 2-2 9; A. Anderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-57 16-16 82.
LONGWOOD 3-18 (0-7) -- L. Woodhouse 2-6 2-2 6; T. Carey 3-12 4-4 12; M. Kessens 6-10 3-4 16; D. Robinson 5-10 5-7 16; J. Dublin 6-9 1-2 13; K. Ziegler 2-6 2-4 6; J. Havenstein 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-54 17-23 71.
Three-point goals: PRES 6-13 (R. Hargrave 1-1; K. Mutakabbir 3-6; J. Downing 1-3; R. McTavish 1-2; E. Washington 0-1), LONG 4-10 (T. Carey 2-6; D. Robinson 1-3; M. Kessens 1-1); Rebounds: PRES 30 (J. Clyburn 7), LONG 24 (J. Dublin 6); Assists: PRES 16 (E. Washington 10), LONG 17 (L. Woodhouse 9); Total Fouls -- PRES 20, LONG 15; Fouled Out: PRES-R. McTavish; LONG-None.