Keys to the Game
1. UNLEASH THE QUINCY!: Quincy Taylor will make his official Lancers debut today after sitting out the first three games of the season. The UAB transfer was the best player on the court in Longwood’s exhibition win over Hampden-Sydney where he posted 22 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Longwood has had spells against Averett and JMU where the offense has looked stagnant at times and Taylor is certainly thought to be the biggest remedy for that.
2. Fresh Legs: Three games in three days is tough and four games in five days is even tougher. The overtime win over UNCG yesterday meant five Lancers played at least 33 minutes. The good news is Quincy adds depth and allows guys like Leron Fisher to fit back into their roles on the team. Kanayo Obi-Rapu only played 14 minutes yesterday and Victor Dorsey appeared just two minutes. Keep an eye on Coach Gee’s rotation today and how it may be different than what we’ve seen thus far this year.
3. Confidence and Energy: Despite leaning on some youngsters yesterday Longwood looked like the more confident team in a big overtime win. You could tell that this team has a totally different mentality than anything we’ve seen the past ten-plus years. The energy coming from Longwood’s bench in terms of cheering and helping the players on the floor was impressive as well. We just need to keep this up to be successful in the this tournament.
Another area of confidence Longwood should have in this one is game-planning. Coach Gee saw Youngstown State at least two times a year at Cleveland State and is very familiar with Jerry Slocum’s Penguins. Gee also began his collegiate coaching career at Youngstown State when he was there from 1989 to 1993.
Longwood will battle Horizon League opponent Youngstown State for the first time ever today at 4:30 for the second game of the Eastern Michigan Showcase Tournament in Ypislanti, Michigan. Longwood is coming off a 81-79 overtime win over UNC Greensboro yesterday, while the Penguins are coming off a 71-62 loss to host Eastern Michigan.
Youngstown State enters this game at 1-3 with all three of their losses coming against MAC schools. The Penguins lone win came in a non-Division I match up against Oberlin.
In looking at the statistical for the Penguins today they’ve really struggled to score this season averaging 64 points per game, which is about 6 points below the national average. They have really struggled behind the line shooting just over 22%, which ranks 321st in the country. YSU also averages 22.5 fouls per game, which is well above the national average.
Today’s opponent is a guard heavy team but they are lead by their big man Bobby Hain who is now averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game to start the season. Hain stands 6’10 and is joined by Fletcher Larson (3.5 ppg) and freshman Sidney Umude (2.8 ppg). For the first time this season Longwood might actually have the advantage inside, especially with the way Lotanna Nwogbo has stepped up.
Leading the guard heavy lineup for YSU will be senior D.J. Cole. So far this season Cole is averaging 6.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 3 rebounds. While Cole orchestrates the offense it’s Marcus Keene who has been the biggest scoring threat out of the backcourt for the Penguins thus far averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Finally, rounding out the backcourt trio is Shawn Amiker Jr. The 6’5 senior is averaging 11.8 points and has also been a big contributor on the boards with 5.5 rebounds. As you can tell the Penguins’ guards crash the glass pretty hard.
With so many guards on the court you could see Longwood counter with a guard heavy lineup of their own at times especially with Quincy Taylor back in the fold.
Tip-off is once again set for 4:30 PM at the EMU Convocation Center. The game can be listened to for free on WVHL or you can pay the $7 to watch the game on Eagle All-Access.