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Lancers basketball schedule unveiled

With a program-record fourth-place Big South finish in 2019-20 and another record with 10 league wins last season, Longwood men’s basketball has enjoyed a milestone-filled run through the Big South under head coach Griff Aldrich.

This year, however, the Lancers’ path to further Big South success will plot a different course, as the Big South shifts to a divisional format that the conference office unveiled in the league’s 2021-22 schedule release Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time since 2013-14, which was Longwood’s second year as a member of the conference, the Big South will return to a divisional format that splits the conference’s geographical footprint that spans from South Carolina to Virginia. The league will separate its 12 teams into a North Division encompassing members from North Carolina and Virginia and a South Division covering North Carolina and South Carolina.

Included in the North Division with Longwood are Campbell, Hampton, High Point, North Carolina A&T and Radford. The South Division is comprised of Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, UNC Asheville, USC Upstate and Winthrop.

All intra-division teams will face each other twice – one home game and one away game – while all cross-division teams will play once each. Also highlighting this year’s Big South slate is a Wednesday-Saturday format of games where every one of Longwood’s conference matchups will take place on those days, guaranteeing two Big South matchups per week.

Those 16 Big South matchups are in addition to a challenging 14-game nonconference slate that pits the Lancers against teams from nine difference conferences, including Big Ten stalwart Iowa, reigning Big East champion Georgetown, reigning Southland champion Abilene Christian, Conference USA runner-up Old Dominion, and MEAC runner-up Morgan State.

While reserved seating season tickets for Longwood men’s basketball are sold out, general admission season tickets for the Lancers’ 16-game home schedule – including a five-game multi-team event in Willett Hall on Nov. 19-21 – remain on sale at www.LongwoodTickets.com.

Additionally, fans can once again follow all Longwood men’s basketball games live this season, with all home games and Big South games airing on ESPN+ and every game also broadcasting locally and online on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country FM.

Longwood will also have multiple opportunities to appear on national television as part of the Big South’s ESPN Wildcard package, of which there will be six potential dates this year. Those games would shift the scheduled Wednesday matchup to a Thursday tipoff on ESPN on Jan. 13, Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17 or Feb. 24. ESPN and the Big South Conference will announce those wildcard matchups prior to those dates.

The roster Longwood will take into the Big South gauntlet features a wealth of veterans, including starting senior guard DeShaun Wade, starting senior forward Zac Watson, starting sophomore forward Jesper Granlund, and Big South All-Freshman Team point guard Justin Hill. Along with those four, the Lancers also return junior forward Leslie Nkereuwem, who averaged a career-high 8.2 points per game as a sophomore, and have added a number of impact transfers including Michael Christmas (James Madison), DA Houston (College of Charleston), Jordan Perkins (North Carolina Central) and Isaiah Wilkins (Virginia Tech/Wake Forest).

Longwood’s 16-man squad will ring in the New Year with that Big South gauntlet, beginning on the road at Commonwealth rival Hampton on Jan. 5 in Hampton. That precedes the Big South home opener against High Point on Jan. 8, which at that point in the season will mark the Lancers’ return to Willett Hall for the first time in three weeks.

However, Longwood will rotate home and road matchups for the rest of the remaining Big South schedule, following with a trip to Radford on Jan. 12, back-to-back home games against Gardner-Webb and Campbell on Jan. 15 and 19, a road trip to Presbyterian on Jan. 22, and another back-to-back home stretch against North Carolina A&T and Winthrop on Jan. 26 and 29.

The league slate continues in February with back-to-back road games at UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern on Feb. 2 and 5, a quick return trip home to face USC Upstate on Feb. 9, and two more road games at North Carolina A&T and High Point on Feb. 12 and 16. Longwood will close out its regular-season home slate against Hampton and Radford on Feb. 19 and 23 and conclude the regular season at Campbell on Feb. 26.

The Big South schedule precedes the Big South Championship tournament, which this year will take place at Bojangles’ Coliseum on March 2-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina The conference’s first round will begin on March 2, followed by the quarterfinals on March 4, semifinals on March 5, and Big South Championship Game on March 6.