Longwood Routs American in Jerome Kersey Classic

Published 10:21 am Saturday, November 20, 2021

In their third consecutive blowout home win, the Longwood Men’s Basketball team (3-1) put together one their strongest defensive efforts under head coach Griff Aldrich and cruised to an 82-42 win over American in the opening game of their three-day multi-team event Friday night in Willett Hall.

American’s 42 points came on a .352 (19-of-54) shooting performance against Longwood’s pressure defense and tied for the fewest points the Lancers have allowed in four seasons under Aldrich. The Eagles (2-2) shot just .276 (8-of-29) from the floor in the first half and missed their first 17 three-point attempts while committing 17 total turnovers that Longwood turned into 20 points.

Longwood junior Leslie Nkereuwem dominated the Eagles (2-2) in the post, shooting 7-of-10 in the paint on the way to 15 points, while senior DeShaun Wade patrolled the perimeter and knocked down two three-pointers en route to a season-high 14 points. Wake Forest transfer Isaiah Wilkins also added 11 points, while Big South Preseason All-Conference point guard Justin Hill dished six assists, and 11 different Lancers scored.

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The win was Longwood’s third straight by at least 34 points and second straight 40-point win following an 80-46 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Nov. 11 and a 93-47 win over Mid-Atlantic Christian on Nov. 14. The latest of those routs saw Longwood out-rebound American 36-29, shoot a season-best .545 (12-of-22) from three-point range, and lead for all but the first 38 seconds of the game.

Longwood was dominant from start to finish and set the tone with a stifling first half that held American to just 17 points and 0-of-13 from three-point range. For the game, American shot .352 (19-of-54) from the field, which was the Lancers’ best defensive performance against a Division I team since holding UNC Asheville to a .345 clip in a 65-55 win on Dec. 31, 2020.

The win comes in the first of Longwood’s three games at the Jerome Kersey Classic, which brought American, UMBC and Western Carolina to Farmville for a three-day tournament featuring five games in Willett Hall. Longwood will continue play Saturday with a 5 p.m. tipoff against UMBC and conclude the tournament with a 4 p.m. matchup against Western Carolina in Sunday’s finale.