North Carolina A&T fends off rally, downs Lancers

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

All good things end, even historic winning streaks. North Carolina A&T State took down Longwood 70-62 on Saturday night to hand the Lancers their first loss of 2022 and snap an 11- game winning streak.

For the Aggies (11-15, 6-6 Big South), Kameron Langley delivered down the stretch to lift up the home side. The graduate student, known for his work as the program’s all-time assists and steals leader, stepped up with 12 of his 17 points in the second half while seeming to be everywhere on the floor in the waning minutes of the game.

He added five rebounds, two crucial steals and five assists while also hitting a dagger three to beat the shot clock with less than two minutes to go.

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That was enough to offset a Longwood (18-6, 10-1 Big South) side that shook off a slow start and found itself down 13 points halfway through the first half. The Lancers managed to slowly work their way back into the game behind DeShaun Wade and Justin Hill, as the duo combined for 30 points.

“I was really disappointed across the board with our competitiveness,” said Longwood Head Coach Griff Aldrich. “We started out extremely flat, and this is the second game in a row where we’ve been talking to the guys at the front end about being aggressive, and we just aren’t. So they get open shots. We’re too comfortable playing the game and letting it happen rather than imposing our will.

“Credit to A&T. They outcompeted us, in my opinion, from start to finish until we fought to get back into it. But then in the second half we kind of flipped right back to just kind of playing the game, trading baskets, and things like that. That’s not Longwood basketball. That’s something that we’re really going to fix.”

After Longwood cut the A&T lead to three at the half, the two sides battled early in the second half and traded the lead back and forth. Halfway through the half, Wade canned a triple from the wing that gave Longwood the lead, but responded with six straight points on a David Beatty three and a Langley three-point play over a five-minute stretch.

The Lancers tied the game at 55 on a driving layup from Justin Hill, but Justin Watley hit his second three of the game off a Langley assist to give N.C. A&T the lead for good with 2:55 to play.

“As I told the guys, losing is not the end of the world,” Aldrich said. “I’m not sure any of us thought we were going to go undefeated in conference. But the way that you lose, the way that we lost today, is unacceptable. Not competing at a high level, not fighting to win. We didn’t do that today.”