Lancers beat NCAA’s top scoring team
Published 11:39 am Monday, December 31, 2018
In closing the book on 2018, the Longwood University men’s basketball team made sure to write an explosive final chapter, a Longwood athletics press release cited Saturday.
Officials noted that backed by a near triple-double from junior guard Shabooty Phillips and a season-high 29 points from redshirt senior guard Isaiah Walton, the Lancers punctuated a historic 2018 with yet another milestone, reaching 10 wins faster than any Lancer team in the program’s Division I era with a 110-94 takedown of host The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, on Saturday afternoon.
The Citadel (9-3) entered the matchup as the nation’s highest-scoring team, but Phillips and Walton countered with a combined 52 points to snap the Bulldogs’ seven-game winning streak and hand them their first home loss of the season at McAlister Field House, the Longwood release stated. Phillips finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Walton’s 29 points sparked a 57-point effort from Longwood’s bench.
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Officials said in the release that the victory made the 2018-19 Lancers the program’s fastest team to reach double-digit wins since the 2000-01 Lancers opened 10-1 as part of a 23-8 season at the NCAA Division II level.
The release continued by highlighting that Saturday’s win also secured Longwood’s best non-conference record since joining the Big South in 2012-13 and sends the Lancers into the start of conference play Saturday as perhaps the Big South’s biggest surprise, leading the league in both wins and winning percentage under first-year Head Coach Griff Aldrich.
“The guys the past few games are really starting to understand a little bit better what we’re trying to do offensively. It’s a process,” Aldrich said in the release, which noted that his 10-5 start trails only Cal Luther’s 11-4 start in 1981-82 and matches Dr. Ron Bash’s 10-5 start in 1978-79 for the best by a first-year Longwood head coach.
“People talk about young teams a lot, and how it’s hard for freshmen to come in and learn a system and things like that, and the reality is we have 15 freshmen in many regards because the system is new,” Aldrich said in the release.
Longwood’s team of “freshmen” hung a season-high 110 points on The Citadel and hit 16 three-pointers Saturday, following up a 77-63 win over Stetson University on Dec. 21 in which the Lancers knocked down a season-high 17 treys, officials cited in the release. Walton hit 5-of-10 Saturday, Phillips hit 5-of-8 and redshirt sophomore guard Juan Munoz knocked down 3-of-5. The team shot a season-high 56.3 percent from the floor, plus 50 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line.
Longwood (10-5) now begins a 16-game Big South schedule, visiting reigning conference champion Radford University on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.