Game #9-547: Longwood Lancers vs. Virginia Military Institute KeydetsMarch 7, 2013 2:00 pm
Myrtle Beach, SC
As I mentioned in my previous recap, Matt Cayuela was not too happy about watching Winthrop and Charleston Southern combine for 101 points
. I told him that this next game between VMI and Longwood should be more to his liking, and he agreed. Both teams were well known for offense more so than defense. In the case of the Keydets, VMI under Duggar Baucom prefers a game based on running and playing good offense
rather than defense. D.J. Covington was named Big South Defensive Player of the Year, mostly because of his high block totals. But aside from stats like blocks and steals, one does not associate VMI with defense. And under Mike Gillian at Longwood, the Lancers have struggled to play good defense with an outmanned roster. Five days prior to this game, the Keydets outraced the Lancers to a 94-80 win. So anybody who likes NBA-style scores was in for a treat. And with the great story of Longwood's win against UNC Asheville two days prior
, this was a big game to watch this afternoon in Conway.
With Parks Smith
not able to come until the weekend, I was hoping that the Lancers could somehow sneak in another upset to go to the semifinals where Parks could see his team play. And one would think if you can beat UNC Asheville, you can then beat VMI. But Baucom is always a great postseason coach, and gets the most out of the little talent he can get to a military school in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. Baucom has often changed his regular season strategies in the postseason which leads to Big South teams getting tricked by the Keydets. So Longwood was going against a lot here. The Lancers were able to hold their own early, leading 17-13 at the second media timeout. Longwood slowed down the pace to try and limit the damage of the VMI offense. But Stan Okoye would have none of that, and made shots from all over the court to get VMI's offense on a roll. And when the Lancer concentrated on Okoye, Rodney Glasgow would take the shot and make it for the Keydets. VMI led 55-43 at halftime with an incredible 1.57 points per possession in the first half. Okoye had 25 points at halftime, and looking at my program I saw the tournament record was 35. Okoye looked to have a good chance at breaking that record.
I was right that the individual game scoring record for the Big South Tournament would be broken. But it would not be by Okoye. In this crazy game of offense, it turned out to be Longwood freshman Michael Kessens leading the way with 36 points (Okoye only had six second half points for a total of 31). And Kessens' inside presence challenged the Big South Defensive Player of the Year in Covington, and the Lancers got back in the game late after trailing by 17 early in the second half. Kessens cut VMI's lead to one possession with a layup to make it 86-83 with two minutes left. But Brian Brown's free throws clinched the game late for VMI, who held on for a 90-86 win.
So what hurt Longwood's chances at coming back? Quite possibly it was three technical fouls on the Lancers throughout the game. The first technical was late in the first half on Lucas Woodhouse while arguing a foul called on Kessens. The second technical was with eight minutes left in the game as Gillian practically went out on to the court to vent his frustration at the officials. And the third technical foul was on Karl Ziegler for a second delay of game penalty on the Lancers. This was not the only time a delay of game technical was called in the tournament. And early in the tournament, just about every team got a delay of game warning. I have never seen so many delay of games called before when watching basketball. There were different officials in different games, so it must have been a point of emphasis given to the refs when they met before the tournament started. And it may have impacted this game even though a player incidentally knocking the ball away does little to interfere with the game. If a player does it deliberately, fine, call a technical. If the ball gets away and takes too much time off a clock, the n just blow the whistle. But otherwise the delay of game calls take away from the flow of the game which is the opposite of what the rule is trying to accomplish. You could even say that in administering delay of game penalties that the game gets delayed. It is like the new rule cracking down on elbowing that has led to a barrage of flagrant fouls getting called for incidental contact made during play, and has led to countless monitor reviews all season.
So that overshadowed what was a good game, and the great individual accomplishment by Kessens. VMI also had three players in Glasgow, Okoye, and Covington combine for 79 points which is also amazing. The first half had only three fewer points than the entire previous game
. This was definitely a game Matt Cayuela enjoyed watching more. But I was left wondering if the game would have gone differently if not for the technical foul. Two of them were most likely warranted. And it is quite possible that it cost Mike Gillian his job, as Gillian resigned a week after the tournament. Gillian however had done a good job at getting his team to overcome the problems it had earlier in conference play. And it is tough to judge Gillian after several years with no conference in which to recruit players to. Even with the loss and Gillian's departure, Longwood is in good shape for the future however. All of the players will most likely be returning, with Michael Kessens continuing to improve as his freshman season went on. And the Lancers will now know to run away from the ball after they score.
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 90, LONGWOOD 86
LONGWOOD 8-25 (4-12) -- M. Kessens 13-21 10-12 36; D. Robinson 1-6 2-2 5; L. Woodhouse 6-9 0-0 16; T. Carey 3-8 2-2 10; K. Ziegler 3-7 5-7 11; J. Dublin 3-7 2-2 8; S. Shockley 0-0 0-0 0; N. Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 21-25 86.
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 14-16 (8-8) -- R. Glasgow 6-13 8-9 22; S. Okoye 8-17 12-14 31; B. Brown 1-4 3-4 6; D. Covington 12-18 2-2 26; N. Gore 2-7 0-0 5; T. Marshall 0-2 0-0 0; P. Anglade 0-0 0-0 0; J. Carr 0-0 0-1 0; G. Stephenson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-61 25-30 90.
Three-point goals: LONG 7-19 (T. Carey 2-6; D. Robinson 1-5; M. Kessens 0-2; L. Woodhouse 4-6), VMI 7-21 (S. Okoye 3-6; N. Gore 1-4; R. Glasgow 2-6; B. Brown 1-3; T. Marshall 0-2); Rebounds: LONG 39 (M. Kessens 16), VMI 26 (S. Okoye 9); Assists: LONG 10 (L. Woodhouse 9), VMI 12 (R. Glasgow 6); Total Fouls -- LONG 21, VMI 20; Fouled Out: LONG-L. Woodhouse; VMI-D. Covington.
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