Today's game against PSU Beaver gave a chance for the full Longwood bench to play. (Photo Credit: Matthew Alexander)

Today’s game against PSU Beaver gave a chance for the full Longwood bench to play. (Photo Credit: Matthew Alexander)

Longwood grabbed their 500th win in program history today with a 106-74 walk in the park against non Division I Penn State Beaver. The win puts Longwood at 4-8 on the season and will hopefully give the Lancers something to build on with over a week before their next game at Ball State.

Here are some observations from the game.

- Today’s win was the first time Longwood went over the 100 point mark since a win against Liberty in February of 2013. The 106 points scored is the most since the Lancers posted 111 against VMI in December 2011.

- Longwood likely could’ve won by a lot larger margin today as the main rotation and starters extended the lead over 40 points in the second half and PSU was really stuggling to score. Coach Gee let his freshmen and bench players, Isaac Belton and Tyler Akers, basically close out the last 8 to 10 minutes of the half and things got a little sloppy at times. At the very least it created a lot of teachable moments, especially for Kanayo Obi-Rapu who was the primary ball handler during the juncture.

- Although the starters and primary rotation looked good in the second half, the first half was a bit of a struggle. Longwood turned the ball over 13 times in the first stanza and only went into halftime with a 51-34 advantage.

- Shaq Johnson looked like a guy trying to make up for lost time after sitting out against Miami on Wednesday. Shaq posted a career high 22 points and also added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He also had plenty of dunks which are sure to surface on the internet soon.

- Right behind Shaq was Quincy Taylor who finished with 19 points and 3 assists. Finishing off the “Big Three” was Lotanna Nwogbo with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks against the Nittany Lions.

- Ryan Badowski also had a nice afternoon and played with more energy than anyone else on the court. He finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds on the day and was a big reason why Longwood pulled away in this one.

- In a bit of off the court news, Jason Pimentel was on the Longwood bench for the first time this year. Pimentel was previously suspended indefinitely but has seemingly found his way back on the team with first semester closing. His status is still unknown, as he was in street clothes today, but he would obviously be a big boost in the post for Longwood.

Where: Historic Willett Hall
When: Saturday December 20, 2 PM
TV/Streaming: Big South Network
Radio: WVHL 92.9

LancersBlog GameThread

Longwood welcomes USCAA member Penn State Beaver to Willett Hall for a 2 PM tip-off on Saturday. Tickets to the game are just $1 with students away from campus.

Long story short the key storylines in this one is the availability of Shaq Johnson and the health of Quincy Taylor. Johnson is expected to be back on the court if his issue did stem from class scheduling and no update has been given on Taylor’s knee status. Regardless Longwood should torch the 3-8 Nittany Lions who surrender nearly 92 points per contest.

The Nittany Lions have won three of their last four games though, so they may have a bit of confidence coming into the contest. Marcus Smith leads the way averaging over 20 points per game followed by Lamont Wright (16.7 ppg) and Christian James (14.3 ppg).

PSU Beaver’s roster on their website doesn’t even have heights so there isn’t much I can tell you there either, but Lotanna Nwogbo should have a huge advantage if he can stay out of foul trouble.

If you can’t make it to Willett Hall then be sure to check out the game on the Big South Network.

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Ryan Badowksi scored in double-digits for the first time since November 23 in the Lancers loss to Miami (OH) on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Matthew Alexander)

Let me be up front, I didn’t watch this game. I’d like to thank the Miami RedHawks $11 live streaming for that. I did listen to the sultry tones of Lancers Voice Jr though aka Jacob Bell.

Longwood fell 71-60 last night at Miami (OH) without the services of Shaq Johnson who had to hang back in Farmville due to his winter class schedule. I’m guessing Shaq will be back for Saturday’s contest against Penn State Beaver.

For the most part Longwood surrendered a 9 point lead within the first four minutes and had to play catch up the whole game. The Redhawks even extended their lead to 20 about four minutes into the second half. An 11 point run almost got Longwood back into this one but the team could never really get over the hump. Really the Lancers had a lot of opportunities to get back into the game but a 16-for-26 performance from the line and 21 turnovers really hindered things.

The game closed with a scary moment as Quincy Taylor tweaked his knee and was down on the court for a minute or so. Quincy walked off the court on his own power and we should know more about his status later this week. The good new is he can theoretically rest for 10-14 days if needed before the next set of meaningful games.

Taylor posted a team-high 16 points but also had 6 turnovers to just 2 assists. He’s now turned the ball over more than the number of his assists with 24 turnovers and 20 helpers. The running theme with Quincy is he still is a non-factor in first halves thus far this year. Last night he had just 1 point going into halftime but he always seems to become much more of a presence in the second half. That second half sense of urgency needs to start translating into a full 40 minutes.

Ryan Badowski added 12 points last night, followed by Lotanna Nwogbo with 11 and DJ Allen with 10. Nwogbo was one rebound away from a double-double and is now averaging 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest. Hopefully he can get his scoring touch going again against PSU-Beaver as he’s only averaged 7.8 points per game in the last five contest.

The double-digit scoring performance was the first for Badowski since November 23 against Eastern Michigan and the first for Allen since November 21 against UNC Greensboro. Hopefully it can light a spark for those two secondary threats.

Curiously enough the Lancers only played a seven man rotation last night without Shaq Johnson. Victor Dorsey did not see the floor after playing about six and a half minutes against UT-Martin and UMBC the last two times out. Part of it could’ve been the fact that Nwogbo stayed out of foul trouble, but certainly keep an eye on Dorsey on Saturday.

The good news is a lot of young players got a lot of experience Wednesday night.

Familiar face Eric Washington (33) is leading the way for Miami (OH) this season.

Where: Millett Hall
When: Wednesday December 17, 7 PM
TV/Streaming: Miami Live Stream (PPV)
Radio: WVHL 92.9

LancersBlog GameThread

Q&A w/ Hustle Belt
Game Notes (Miami)
Game Notes (Longwood)

Longwood travels to western Ohio tonight looking to get the taste of a bad loss at UMBC on Sunday out of their mouth. The Lancers will match up with their second MAC opponent of the year in the 2-7 Miami Redhawks for a 7 PM tip-off.

Miami has dropped six straight after taking down Liberty 63-52 at home on November 22. The Redhawks are hungry for a win after close calls against Dayton, Elon, and others. This will be another game where Longwood will have to outmatch the home team’s energy in order to come back home with a victory.

Leading the way for the Redhawks is a familiar face in point guard Eric Washington. Washington is a Presbyterian transfer who posted 10 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds against the Lancers in a January 2013 win for the Blue Hose in Willett Hall. After sitting a year out Washington has quickly become the Redhawks best player averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 assists per game. Washington is on an impressive streak in his last four games scoring in double-figures in every contest and averaging about 16 points and 6 assists per contest. Certainly Quincy Taylor and Leron Fisher will have a tall task tonight.

Miami actually starts four guards with the tallest coming in at 6’3, which makes this a rare game where Longwood will have a significant height advantage at times. Leading the way for the four guard set, beyond Washington, is Will Sullivan and Geovonie McKnight who both are averaging about 10 points per game. The Redhawks also have Oregon transfer Willie Moore who comes off the bench and is coming off and had a big night two games ago with 24 points against IPFW.

With the guard heavy set it could mean another starting lineup with Quincy Taylor and Leron Fisher playing side-by-side. Also it means that guys like Ryan Badowski, DJ Allen, and Kanayo Obi-Rapu are going to need to step up if the Redhawks have a serious speed advantage that may hinder the play of a guy like Damarion Geter.

On the inside Miami starts 6’9 freshman and North Carolina native Logan McLane. McLane only averages about 13 minutes a night and is contributing about 4 points and 2 rebounds thus far this season. The Redhawks do have seven players 6’7 or above coming off their bench but three of which don’t really play and another, Jaryd Eustice only plays about five minutes a night. The one guy to keep an eye on is 6’8 Florida Atlantic transfer Chris Bryant who actually started six games this season and is averaging 6.3 points and 4 boards per contest.

Once again in the paint for the Lancers the main storyline is going to be to keep Lotanna Nwogbo out of early foul trouble and to get him going early in the game. If we see the Nwogbo that we saw against George Washington then Longwood will have a huge advantage in this game.

Tip-off is set for 7 PM in Millett Hall and hopefully Longwood can earn their first true road victory of the year. The same key factors ring true in improving on both sides of the ball, limiting turnovers, and playing with unmatched energy.

The baseball squad and new coach Ryan Mau have released their 2015 schedule with the season under two months away!

Feb 13 at Tennessee Tech
Feb 14 at Tennessee Tech
Feb 15 at Tennessee Tech
Feb 17 at JMU
Feb 21 vs NJIT (DH)
Feb 22 vs NJIT
Feb 24 at William & Mary
Feb 25 vs George Mason
Feb 28 vs Army (DH)
Mar 1 vs Army
Mar 3 at North Carolina Central
Mar 6 at Georgia
Mar 7 at Georgia
Mar 8 at Georgia
Mar 10 vs Norfolk State
Mar 13 at Campbell
Mar 14 at Campbell
Mar 15 at Campbell
Mar 17 at Norfolk State
Mar 18 at North Carolina A&T
Mar 20 vs Charleston Southern
Mar 21 vs Charleston Southern
Mar 22 vs Charleston Southern
Mar 25 at VCU
Mar 27 vs High Point
Mar 28 vs High Point
Mar 29 vs High Point
Mar 31 vs JMU
Apr 2 at Coastal Carolina
Apr 3 at Coastal Carolina
Apr 4 at Coastal Carolina
Apr 7 vs William & Mary
Apr 10 vs North Carolina A&T
Apr 11 vs North Carolina A&T
Apr 12 vs North Carolina A&T
Apr 14 vs North Carolina Central
Apr 17 vs Liberty
Apr 18 vs Liberty
Apr 19 vs Liberty
Apr 21 at Virginia
Apr 24 at UNC Asheviile
Apr 25 at UNC Asheviile
Apr 26 at UNC Asheviile
May 1 at North Carolina State
May 2 at North Carolina State
May 3 at North Carolina State
May 8 at Gardner-Webb
May 9 at Gardner-Webb
May 10 at Gardner-Webb
May 12 at Duke
May 14 vs Winthrop
May 15 vs Winthrop
May 16 vs Winthrop

May 19-23 | Big South Tournament (Shelby, NC)

Our friends from HustleBelt are back to give us another look at MAC opponent for Longwood. This time Kaleb Carter answers our questions about Wednesday’s match up with Miami (OH).

At 2-7 to start off the season what has been Miami’s biggest problem thus far?

No one realistically thought this would be the season that things turned around in Oxford. If they were going to win any games, no one is surprised that it was Liberty and Southern Utah. Really, the biggest problem has been the ‘Hawks inside play (lack of a presence really) without Will Felder down low. The guy averaged 14 points and seven boards a game, this year, they’re asking guys like Chris Bryant to bang around the hoop. This team is woefully unprepared to go toe-to-to with other team’s bigs, so instead, they have experimented with smaller, quicker lineups.

It seems like a lot of your losses have been rather close, what is the general sentiment around the team and fanbase? Is there optimism or they just beaten down at this point?

I mean, a little bit of both to be honest. Yeah, fans are frustrated, but know fully well what was expected coming in. What has been great for this team (though I’m not the biggest ‘moral victory’ guy) is that they have battled against the likes of Dayton and Wright State. Others, like Elon and IPFW must be tough for Miami fans. After talking to John Cooper the other night after the game, I kind of got the idea that his optimism wasn’t waning, and that he had high hopes for his team, especially with the guard play being fairly solid after losing a consistent starter in Quentin Rollins (include this link about his football exploits http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/nfl-draft-scout/24878273/meet-the-prospect-miami-ohio-cb-quinten-rollins)

Who are some of the players to watch for the Redhawks? It seems like a pretty guard heavy team right now.

It’s a very guard-heavy team, you’re right about that. Eric Washington is a transfer student out of Prysbetarian who has played even better than many Miami fans expected, though for those who have heard of his exploits there know he could be a dazzling point guard. You’ll need to stop Geovanie McKnight from penetrating. That’s where he has been getting all of his buckets. Many of them have been running one-handers, pull-ups in the paint and the like.

Our fans hate the MAC now because we have to pay $11 to watch a game while many other conferences have free live streaming, what are your thoughts on that? I want my money back Eastern Michigan!

Oh gosh, I feel like I don’t know enough about the TV and streaming dealios to answer that questions but I THINK IT’S A BUNCH OF MALARKEY

What is your prediction for Wednesday’s game?

As for Wednesday’s game, give me the hard-fighting ‘Hawks in Millett Hall by a score of 74-68. I think the fast play of Miami will give Coach Gee’s squad a tough task to handle, and that they won’t hold up well enough under the pressure in what should be a tight contest. Though for Miami, I am worried about handling Quincy Taylor and Lotanna Nwogbo on the boards.

Lotanna Nwogbo went missing in Longwood's loss at UMBC.

Lotanna Nwogbo went missing in Longwood’s loss at UMBC.

After the UT-Martin loss coach Gee got on the radio and pretty much guaranteed a win against UMBC. That was definitely not the case when Longwood fell 58-53 to the Retrievers in what was a bad, bad loss.

UMBC came into the game 0-9 and you could see why right from the start of this game, they are really a terrible team. Sunday’s loss was especially excruciating because Longwood is SO much more talented than the product UMBC had on the court. It was the same negative storylines that played out Sunday though….early foul trouble and turnovers.

It may have been 27-27 deadlock at halftime but really this game was lost at the end of the first half when Longwood let UMBC go on a 7-0 road. The run gave a lifeless UMBC squad some hope and all of the momentum going into the locker room. From that point on you could see the writing on the wall.

Longwood did have opportunities in the second half as Lotanna Nwogbo was back from foul trouble and the Lancers did force plenty of turnovers (22 on the night). The problem was Nwogbo was MIA much of the game and Longwood could not capitalize on the turnovers they were forcing and shot just 32% from the field. Nwogbo finished the night with 6 points and 7 rebounds.

The biggest problem Sunday was Longwood’s stagnant offense. There is no solid ball movement or a sense of urgency until late in games when it’s too late. Quincy Taylor had 15 points, but most of those came late in the second half. Leron Fisher ran the offense for most of the night with Quincy playing as an off guard. It’s an interesting look but clearly the offense is run a lot better when Quincy has the ball in his hands, which is not a knock on Fisher.

Shaq Johnson had a nice night with 17 points and 7 rebounds, but he also had 5 turnovers. Bad passes are contagious and at times Johnson seems to be the root of the virus. Many times he’ll make poor passes airborn and it just seems to take over the whole team.

Quite frankly this was a game Longwood had not business losing and the Lancers need to have a lot better showings as they close out the final three games of non-conference play.

A big thanks to Ryan Peters of Big Apple Buckets for answering some of our questions about Sunday’s match up with UMBC.

Beyond injuries what has really been the problem and cause for UMBC’s 0-9 start?

They simply can’t score the basketball. This season, UMBC has scored more than 0.86 points per possession just once in nine tries. That’s absurdly low! The Retrievers can’t make a long-range jumper (26.7%), turn the ball over on at least 25% of their possessions, and are hideous at the charity stripe (56.5%). I feel bad for Aki Thomas; it doesn’t get much worse than averaging less than 55 points scored per game.

Can you talk a bit about the injuries that have hampered the Retrievers this year?

Only one injury is worth talking about, because it’s one that’ll likely doom UMBC to once again finish with less than 10 wins for a sixth straight season. When Rodney Elliott, the team’s starting point guard and defending America East Rookie of the Year, went down in game #1, it would end up being the only game he’d play. He has since been declared out for the season due to shoulder surgery, which for this roster is devastating.

Elliott was one of the only Retrievers who could create off the dribble and efficiently score. Without him, there isn’t a competent backup who can step in and make others better right away.

UMBC looks like one of the worst shooting teams in the country, especially from three, is there any hope that the offense can get going a little more?

Well, based on my two answers above, you can see I’m not terribly optimistic UMBC will become more efficient putting points on the board.

Don’t get me wrong, Thomas certainly has some talent, but it’s so hard to produce when you don’t have a capable floor general running the show. Then again, you can’t get much worse and the America East has a pretty poor bottom half of the league (Binghamton, Maine are just as bad). Plus Longwood has the worst defensive efficiency in the country according to KenPom, so SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE on Sunday.

A lot depends on how much freshman guard Jourdan Grant improves as the defacto point guard sans Elliott. His play thus far has been wildly uneven, but he did dish out five assists (versus two turnovers) in a competitive loss to CCSU on Wednesday. UMBC will need more of that to help steady the offense.

Talk a little bit about the dynamics that transfers Cody Joyce and Wayne Sparrow bring to the table.

Cody Joyce is a very capable back-to-the-basket type of player, who fills up a lot of space in the middle at 6’8″. When he was declared eligible due to a hardship waiver this season, I felt his veteran presence down low would help Thomas’ team greatly.

Ditto for Wayne Sparrow, who brings a lot to the table defensively. He’s very athletic and has good size at 6’3″ and certainly could be construed as an upgrade. He’s wildly erratic on the other side of the ball, however, as evident from 41.7% field goal percentage. He has no outside shot and he’s a career 47.6% free throw shooter, which is REALLY unusual for a guard with his skill set. As a defensive stopper he’s fine, but unfortunately for the Retrievers, Sparrow has taken up nearly one third of the team’s possessions on offense.

Care to make a prediction for Sunday’s game versus Longwood?

Admittedly, I haven’t seen Longwood play, but based on their KenPom profile, this game should be competitive. UMBC has been a little better lately, albeit slightly better, so I think they’ll use their home cooking to pull out the tight victoryto earn their first victory of the sea

Aki Thomas’ UMBC squad will be VERY hungry for their first victory of the year when Longwood comes to town on Sunday.

Where: Retriever Activities Center (Baltimore, MD)
When: Sunday, December 14, 5 PM
TV/Streaming: AmericaEast.TV
Radio: WVHL 92.9

LancersBlog GameThread

Keys to the Game

1. Confidence Not Over-Confidence: UMBC is winless this season and Coach Gee pretty much guaranteed victory in one way or another when he said in last Saturday’s postgame that Longwood was going to go up to Baltimore and take care of business. Longwood needs to be confident in this one but don’t come out cocky. The Lancers are the better team but they need to be energized and hungry to get their first true road win of the year at UMBC.

2. DEFENSE: Gee has to be frustrated with the defense thus far this season. Longwood needs to force turnovers, rebound, and really hunker down and plays some great halfcourt defense. The Retrievers are only averaging 53.1 points per game, which is fifth worst in the country. This is a great opportunity for Longwood to enforce their will and really build some momentum on the defensive side of the ball.

3. Get Nwogbo Rolling: Yes, this has been a recurring theme but the big man needs to stay on the court Sunday afternoon and get off to a good start. He has an important match up with Cody Joyce in this one and if Longwood wants to get the road W then he can’t get into early foul trouble or play tentatively.

Game Summary

Longwood will be looking for their first true road victory of the year when they head to Baltimore Sunday to take on 0-9 UMBC. You have to think that the Retrievers smell blood in the water when they look at Longwood on paper but the Lancers have to come into this game just as hungry for a victory Aki Thomas’ squad.

The Retrievers biggest troubles this year have been scoring and rebounding, so Longwood should be ready for a great opportunity on both ends of the court. Leading the way in scoring thus far is Richmond transfer Wayne Sparrow with 10.6 points per game. The former Spider is shooting a career low 34.6% from the field and only 20% from three. Sparrow can get hot and was 8-for-16 while scoring a season high 17 points at Central Connecticut State on Wednesday. He’ll still be an important match up for DJ Allen and others.

On the insider UMBC is lead by another transfer, Cody Joyce from Houston Baptist. He’s currently averaging just about 10 points and 5 rebounds per game and should be a good match up for Lotanna Nwogbo. The 6’8 Maryland native has been very efficient from the field so far shooting over 52%. He’s another guy that almost matched his season high against CCSU with 13 points and 5 rebounds.

Two other guys to keep an eye on for the Retreivers is big man Devarick Houston and guard Jourdan Grant. Both are solid rebounders combining for nearly 9 per game and we all know how Longwood has struggled on the boards this year. In what is expected to be a rather deflated environment a good way to get energy up is for everyone to crash the boards…HARD!

Basically Longwood just needs to be the better team in this one. The Lancers can’t come out like they did in the first half against UT-Martin with a total lack of energy. If Longwood wants to be a good basketball team then they need to exude that confidence and energy on the court.

Longwood certainly has a lot going for them despite some defensive and ball control woes. (Photo: Matthew Alexander)

Longwood certainly has a lot going for them despite some defensive and ball control woes. (Photo: Matthew Alexander)

We continue our boring exam week series today with a look at the team statistics for the Lancers thus far this year:

The Good

The best thing Longwood has going for them right now is their offense. Currently Longwood ranks third in the Big South in field goal percentage at 43.7% despite averaging 65.7 points per game, which is below the conference average. Longwood has been really efficient from two where they are shooting over 49% and rank second in the conference and 128th in the nation. Possessions per forty minutes are down for Lancers by nearly three which is a good sign for a run-and-gun offense that was out of control a bit last season.

Team free throw percentage, 68%, is above the conference average and currently is at fifth in the Big South and is about average nationally. Longwood is also forcing 13.4 turnovers per game, which is above the conference and national average. Currently the Lancers rank fourth in the Big South and 149th in the nation in that category.

From an RPI standpoint Longwood currently stands at 221, which is sixth in the Big South in front of Asheville, Winthrop, Campbell, Presbyterian, and Liberty in that order. Longwood has played the THIRD toughest schedule in the country and currently has also played one of the nation’s 100 toughest schedules at this point. The Lancers have also played the least number of non-Division I games in the conference at this point.

The Bad

Yea we are forcing turnovers but we are also giving them up. Longwood is averaging 16.1 turnovers per game, which puts them at 10th in the 11 team Big South Conference. The national average for turnovers right now is 13.2 per game. Longwood is also the worst rebounding team in the Big South averaging 27.3 per game, which ranks 317th nationally. The average number of rebounds per game in the Big South is just above 33.

The Ugly

Defense, which has to make coach Gee cringe. The Lancers currently surrender 77 points per game, which ranks last in the Big South. Also ranking last in the Big South is opponent’s field goal percentage, 51.2%, and opponents two point field goal percentage, 57.7%. Longwood is also averaging over 20 fouls per game is ranked eight in the conference in that category.

Obviously the team needs to step up on the defensive end to compete at a high level in the Big South.