Longwood fell 91-66 in Foggy Bottom tonight to George Washington but the final score might be a little deceiving.

Player of the Game| Lotanna NwogboThis one was no question. I really thought Kevin Larsen would run away with this one in the paint but it was Nwogbo that came away impressing everyone. He played with fire and posted a career high 25 points and 13 rebounds. He did have 5 turnovers but he was an absolute BEAST in the paint tonight.

KneeJerk Reactions:

- Let me vent a little… this one was shaping up for a good finish, here is evidence…

It’s hard to pin a 25 point loss on the referees but they robbed us of a good finish. GW could do no wrong on the offensive end when it came to the referees. What was a kick ball on one side of the court didn’t exist on the other. Moving picks were off the charts and so were anticipation/out-of-position calls. The worst was Shaq Johnson who had a hard foul on Yuta Watanabe early in the game and then received a foul for sneezing the rest of the way. It really wasn’t fair both ways. Plus-20 free throw margin for GW tonight…

- Leron Fisher had a great offensive game and it will go totally unrecognized with a line of 2 points and 4 assists. Fisher played with confidence and even played the point with Quincy at the two guard for a long stretch in the second half.

- Speaking of Quincy Taylor, he kind of went missing until late in the second half again. He only played 7 minutes in the first half and finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist. He missed one wide open three pointer about midway through the second half that would’ve been a huge momentum builder for the Lancers. He had his hands full tonight but he has to find a way to take over games. 3-for-12 from the field just isn’t going to get the job done.

- Shaq took flight twice tonight and posted 6 points and 3 assists. His turnover woes continued tonight with 5 and he just looks indecisive with the ball at times when he receives it on the wing with no guard help.

- At the beginning of this game it looked like it could’ve been Eastern Michigan 2.0 as Longwood was turning the ball over and really struggling against the 1-3-1. To Longwood’s credit they really perceived and had really solid ball movement the last 25 or so minutes of the game. Flashes of brilliance, that’s all I can say.

- DJ Allen had a solid night with 8 points, 3 rebounds and a block. Nothing to amaze you but a decent outing.

- Ryan Badowski was a non-factor until he got something going late with some big threes but then 60 year old fat guys squashed that momentum.

Longwood will now head to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes finishing up a the most brutal stretch of the schedule that the Lancers will see all year. Home sweet Willett…Come on December 3!

GW

Longwood first went to the Charles E. Smith Center in November of 2006. (Photo: Parks Smith)

Where: Charles E. Smith Center (Washington, DC)
When: Wednesday, November 25, 7 PM
TV/Streaming: RaiseHigh Live (FREE)
Radio: WVHL 92.9

LancersBlog GameThread
Q&A with Mid-Major Madness
Q&A with Hail to the Buff
Game Notes (GW)
Game Notes (LU)

Keys to the Game

1. Patience: George Washington is probably the best defensive team that Longwood will see all year and they really have no weaknesses when it comes directly to their personnel. Mike Lonergan likes to mix up defensive sets and even play a 1-3-1 zone from time to time. If you’re going to compete with GW then it’s going to be in grind-it-out fashion, which means that a relatively young Longwood offense needs to take care of the ball and remain very patient throughout the game. Every possession has to count in this one.

2. Zone Busters: Did Longwood just have a bad couple of games or is the zone really going to give this team problems all year long? You can see the coaching staff exploring different ways to beat the zone, like putting Shaq Johnson at the high post and hoping the zone collapses opening up or wins, but nothing has worked that great so far.

3. Defensive Intensity: Can Longwood slow down the Colonials on the offensive end? GW has weapons inside and outside with no real apparent weakness. How will Coach Gee and the Lancers try to slow down GW on Wednesday night?

Game Summary

When you mention George Washington to any Longwood basketball fan usually the first thought is beating is beating the Colonials 80-78 in Willett Hall in 2009. The win was labeled as the biggest in program history until Coach Gee and the Lancers took down TCU on the road last year. Ahhh…memories. 2009 was the last time we matched up with GW and this is now a very different team under fourth year head coach Mike Lonergan.

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Daeisha Brown Tears ACL, Out for the Year

We had the opportunity to do a second Eyes of the Enemy piece with David Earl of the Hail to the Buff podcast that covers George Washington basketball. A big thanks to David.

Longwood hasn’t matched up with GW since 2009 when the Lancers knocked off the Colonials 80-78 in Willett Hall (sorry to bring that up), Karl Hobbs was the coach at that time and now you have Mike Gillian doppelganger Mike Lonergan at the helm. What has changed the most since Lonergan has taken over.

Woof, thanks for that reminder. That game was absolutely brutal, and one of a number of low points experienced by a program that went from 3 straight NCAA Tournaments to a run of failing to quality for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. I’ll give you a few things that have changed. Off the court, I’d say that a much greater emphasis has been placed on local guys. Of our starters, Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage and Kevin Larsen all played high school ball in the DC metro area. It has had a big role in getting more local attention on the program. On the court, where Coach Hobbs tried very hard to recruit the athletes who could run you ragged, Coach Lonergan is much more about systems. The flex offense creates opportunities, and while you’ll still see an ISO once in awhile, there’s a lot more nuance to our game plans on both sides of the ball.

Can you talk a little bit about Patrico Garino and what he brings to the table. He’s one of my favorite players to watch in college hoops and I’m not looking forward to matching up with him. 

Pato is probably one of the sneakiest guys in college basketball. His quickness and savvy on both sides of the ball is unlike anything I’ve seen in a GW basketball player. Understanding Pato is a lot like understanding his signature play. He’s got an incredible knack for stepping up into a perimeter passing lane and turning it into a breakaway dunk. He’s an incredible off-the-ball defender and can outrun most opponents. He’s fast enough to guard in the backcourt, tall enough to shoot over most opponents.

Longwood has really struggled against the zone early this season. Do you think GW will utilize that or just try to play their own style? 

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A big thanks to Mid-Major Madness contributor Nkwa Asonye for answering some of our questions about Wednesday’s game against George Washington. Nkwa in a GW alum and former basketball radio commentator for the Colonials.

Longwood hasn’t matched up with GW since 2009 when the Lancers knocked off the Colonials 80-78 in Willett Hall (sorry to bring that up), Karl Hobbs was the coach at that time and now you have Mike Gillian doppelganger Mike Lonergan at the helm. What has changed the most since Lonergan has taken over.

What I think has changed the most is the defense. Even though the Colonials’ first two seasons under Coach Lonergan’s first two seasons at GW were rough, containing their opponents – helped largely by the presence of graduated senior Isaiah Armwood – was something for the team to hang its hat on even when they struggled offensively, and it still is today. They’re going into tomorrow with the A10’s best scoring defense and after a tough loss on Friday, I expect it to show up.

Can you talk a little bit about Patrico Garino and what he brings to the table. He’s one of my favorite players to watch in college hoops and I’m not looking forward to matching up with him.

Pato’s an emerging two-way player, and his best asset is his perimeter defense. He usually draws the opponents’ best offensive player and plays the passing lanes very well. Moreover, he’s crafty enough to get his points at the basket almost at will (look out for that reverse layup). The real question concerning Garino involves his shooting. Freshman year his offensive arsenal took some time to go through the high school to collegiate adjustment; sophomore year he was hampered by injury but came on strong down the stretch. The coaching staff and fans expect big things from the Argentine this campaign.

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emu convo

EMU was able to claim the tournament title on their home floor: The EMU Convocation Center

So was the EMU Showcase a success?  According to Jayson Gee and mild mannered fans like myself, it was certainly a success.  Longwood went 2-2 (including the game vs Averett in Willett Hall) which Gee explained was the initial goal anyway.  Now don’t get me wrong, once we beat UNCG in overtime on Friday, I hoped the Lancers could squeak out a win over Youngstown State the following day and although many casual fans haven’t heard of them, the Eastern Michigan Eagles are probably going to win 20 games this season.  To expect a win against a 20 win team so early in the season would have been naive.

This tournament was basically a chance for Longwood to learn more about their team.  It was an opportunity to get an idea of what this team is made of and what coach Jayson Gee and his staff need to do to improve going forward.  When it comes to the wins and losses, you might as well just forget about that aspect.  On the other hand, you can’t simply forget this is year two of a rebuild (or a build).  On top of that, the roster is filled with players that have never donned the blue and white before this season.  What i’m looking for is progress.  Are these players getting better?  Do they seem like they’re gelling?  Are they all in?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

This team is growing.  Results aren’t always going to be there in the box score.  The stats aren’t going to tell this Jayson Gee story.  You have to watch this team to really get a grasp of it.  You can’t look at a stat sheet and understand the intangibles that this Longwood team is developing.  Coach Gee possesses very specific ideals and principles when it comes to this Longwood program.  Good defense is a main staple and although opposing teams were able to expose some of Longwood’s vulnerabilities (i.e. the zone), the defense was still able to implement a degree of pressure.

Longwood showed some composure in the game against UNCG.  Early on, the Lancers trailed the Spartans.  In fact, the Lancers never held the lead during the first half.  However, Longwood came out strong in the second half and claimed the lead on their first possession.  The Lancers held the lead for a few minutes before UNCG made a run.  The teams ping-ponged for a while before Longwood took a small lead around the 4 minute mark.  From there, Longwood had as much as a 4 point advantage and would eventually allow a buzzer beating 3 to send the game into overtime.  In all honesty, I wasn’t sure a team would be able to come back from that.  Welp, this Lancers team was able to and they claimed the 2 point victory after one overtime period.

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Longwood was dominated this afternoon in a 79-48 drubbing at the hands of Eastern Michigan to close out the EMU showcase.

Player of the Game: I’m hesitant to give this to anyone but it’ll go to Lotanna Nwogbo to for the way he played in this tournament nearly averaging a double-double. Nwogbo had 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks tonight. I don’t know if they have all-tournament teams but he should be on it. The best part about today is that he had only 1 turnover.

KneeJerk Reactions

- The rhetoric surrounding this game is that 4 games in 5 days is tough. Yea it is, but everyone else in this tournament was pretty much doing it. There is a virus running around that Shaq Johnson is dealing with and I hope that is part of the story of today’s sloppy efforts.

- 24 TURNOVERS! The Lancers had 15 turnovers in the second half, which is too many for one game much less a half. Longwood is really struggling against zone defenses and it’s something Coach Gee and his staff need to figure out as we turn the page to December when Longwood will have a slew of winnable games.

- The starting five went missing today just scoring 11 points if you don’t count Nwogbo. The effort just wasn’t good enough and that has to change when the Lancers return home December 3 against Dartmouth.

- Victor Dorsey played about 3 minutes Friday and Saturday but today was really his debut. Dorsey looked like a freshman at times with 4 turnovers and some lazy fouls but he did have 2 points and 8 rebounds.

- Ryan Badowski was the only other Lancer in double-figures with 12 points and 4 rebounds.

Longwood needs to find their pride now as they’ll see their best two opponents of the season coming up against George Washington and Iowa.

Karrington Ward will give Longwood quite the challenge in the frontcourt today.

Where: Convocation Center (Ypsilanti, MI)
When: Sunday November 23, 2:30 PM
TV/Streaming: Eagle All-Access (PPV)
Radio: WVHL 92.9
Line: +16.5

LancersBlog GameThread
Q&A with Hustle Belt

Keys to the Game

1. Limit Turnovers: Longwood ran an effective offense last night shooting 55.4% from the field. The bad thing was that the Lancers turned the ball over far too much. All in all there were 17 turnovers and every Lancer in the lineup, except Kanayo Obi-Rapu, coughed up the ball at least twice.

2. Improved Free Throw Shooting: Longwood shot just 25% from the free throw line yesterday but that wasn’t the only problem. It was the lack of volume, 8 attempts, more so than the percentage that was troubling. Longwood has guys who can slash, like DJ Allen and Quincy Taylor, who should be able to draw contact and get to the line. Longwood cannot afford another 20+ free throw attempt differential today.

3. Quincy Finding His Rhythm: Longwood’s offense looked fine for most of the first half yesterday but Quincy Taylor just didn’t look like he was in a groove for about the first 30+ minutes of action. Quincy woke up a bit and really became a huge factor and lead the Lancers comeback in the second half. If we could get 40 minutes of that version of Quincy then we have a chance today against the host Eagles.

Game Summary

Longwood will close out the EMU Showcase Tournament today with a matinee against the host Eagles who currently stand 4-0 this season. EMU is the most talented team in this tournament but they certainly aren’t as talented as the team that made the NCAA Tournament last year, as evidenced by their 10 point average margin of victory this year against comparable competition to Longwood. EMU beat Youngstown State 71-62 on Friday and then beat UNC Greensboro 70-62 last night.

The frontcourt leads the way for the Eagles with senior Karrington Ward and George Mason transfer Anali Okoloji. Ward is an uber athletic 6’7 forward who is averaging 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per gam thus far this season. He’s a different kind of big that Longwood has not seen before this year and combining him with Okoloji should give the Lancers problem. Okoloji is averaging 10 points and 5.8 rebounds this year after playing sparingly at George Mason and Seton Hall over the last few years.

The backcourt is lead by sophomore guard Raven Lee who dropped 25 points on UNCG last night. On the season Lee is averaging 19 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest while shooting over 47% from beyond the arc. Lee is joined by senior Duquesne transfer Mike Talley who orchestrates the Eagles offense and is averaging over 4 assists per game while contributing nearly 10 points per game.

Long story short, this will be a tough game for Longwood but it’s most certainly a winnable one if everyone is clicking on all cylinders. The next three games Longwood will play in will feature tougher and tougher opponents as the schedule progresses.

Lotanna Nwobo is averaging a double-double for the whole EMU Tournament thus far with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Shaq Johnson has also been impressive with 14.5 points and 4.5 assists per contest. Both have a good chance to be named to the all-tournament team if they perform well today in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

A big thanks to Alexander Alvarado the Eastern Michigan correspondent for Hustle Belt, for answering our questions about today’s match up with the Eagles. Be sure to check out the awesome MAC coverage at Hustle Belt.

EMU was a tournament team a year ago, what is the same and what is different about this year’s edition of the Eagles?

The defensive mindset of this team is still the same as it’s ever been. It looks different without MAC defensive player of the year Da’Shonte Riley and Glenn Bryant, but that doesn’t make scoring on its 2-3 zone any easier. Some of the players like Anali Okoloji (say that ten times fast) and Jodan Price. We’ve also got our top three returning scorers from last season in Karrington Ward, Raven Lee and Mike Talley all back on the team. We’re already confident enough in our defense, but we need to put points on the board, and we ought to be more threatening on that end of the floor than last season.

I’ll be really happy when this tournament is over so I don’t have to type “Ypsilanti” anymore. Tell us a little bit about the town and the basketball community. Really it just sounds cold…

You hear bad stuff about Ypsi a lot. Gun shots, crime, assault, just lots of bad negativity. I absolutely love Ypsi. Fun bars, very diverse group of people in terms of race, class, religion, political views, and just a ton of variety in the smaller community. If you’re going to Ypsi for one day and you need to eat or want to get a drink, go to Sidetrack. Doesn’t matter what time or for how long, just go there. 

Basketball, it’s tough. Tough because it should be a huge deal. Basketball fans are everywhere, but everybody’s butts are at home and not in the seats of The Convo. We hosted a first-round postseason tourney game last year and less than 400 people showed up (http://www.hustlebelt.com/2014/3/18/5524450/emu-students-should-stop-being-so-damn-lame). Do people care? Yes. Just attendance is an issue, but I’m going to be an optimist with the way Rob Murphy bringing this program back to life.

I saw a video of the EMU football team really struggling to take down some concrete bricks with a sledgehammer for an entrance to a game. Does the basketball team also do construction and/or demolition before their games?

Hell no. Rob Murphy’s a rapper. The only demos these guys are doing is recording their freestyles. (homage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQyvHRIC3e0)

EMU comes into this tournament 2-0 with wins over Oakland and a non-Division I opponent. Both games were 12 points wins, what are your key takeaways from those two contests? 

(Well, I’ll answer for 3-0 for timeliness)

Honestly, these are expected. I see the games have been closer, which is scary, but the true exposure games will come next month when we have to go to Dayton. Right now, this group has to really build chemistry in the games. That’ll be most important to improve on throughout the season. 

What are your predictions and expectations for EMU in this tournament? What’s your prediction for Sunday afternoon?

EMU ought to finish this thing without a loss. As long as Karrington Ward never gets injured, I’m more than confident in Murphy’s team to not spoil the EMU Showcase. Let’s say 74-62 over the Lancers.

Longwood fell tonight in 82-72 in a game that exploited some early season troubles for the Lancers but also showed a lot of character. Here are our instant reactions.

Player of the Game: Shaq Johnson is our Player of the Game and he might not have been if it hadn’t come to light that Shaq was suffering through a virus in this one. Despite being sick Shaq posted 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. It was a gritty performance for a guy that continues to play harder and harder in each and every outing.

Game Summary:

- Longwood just gave up too many easy shots today as the Penguins shot 52.6% from the field. There were some side ball screens that the Lancers just weren’t prepared for that left a lot of open mid-range jumpers for the Penguins. Shawn Amiker really torched the Lancers going 9-for-14 from the field and ending the night with 14 points.

- The Lancers were only 2-for-8 from the free throw line tonight which just needs to improve. Youngstown State seemed to get a contact call every time they drove in the lane and ended up with 30 free throws. This is a bit of a reflection on the referees but regardless Longwood needs to shoot better from the charity stripe.

- Turnovers were also a key reason for the loss. Longwood turned the ball over 17 times which is far too much. Every Lancer not named Kanayo Obi-Rapu had at least two turnovers.

- The reason I say that Longwood showed a lot of character tonight is because this game was teetering on a 20 point blow out approaching the 10 minute mark. It was then when Quincy Taylor decided to take over and found his rhythm that was absent before then. Quincy did it from the outside and driving to the bucket and finished the game with 14 points and 7 assists. Quincy brought the game back within striking distance for the Lancers and made it a ballgame the last four minutes.

- Lotanna Nwogbo once again flashed how much of an upgrade he is in the post. The big man finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He had 3 turnovers but he seems to become more and more reliable each game. Longwood didn’t win the rebounding battle but they did win the points and the paint battle in large part to Nwogbo.

- Kanayo Obi-Rapu had a nice night off the bench hitting two very timely threes. Obi-Rapu did foul out but finished with 11 points and 2 rebounds. Coach Gee said he finds a lot more rhythm at the two guard rather than being forced to play point guard when Quincy was out.

The opponent for Longwood will now get harder and harder with each game starting tomorrow with host Eastern Michigan. Longwood is looking for a strong finish to the EMU Showcase when they tip off at 2:30 PM against the Eagles.