Fans encouraged to ‘Paint It Blue’ as ESPN comes to Longwood
Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024
The goal is for the first time ESPN cameras go live inside the Joan Perry Brock Center at Longwood University, they’ll show a sea of blue.
Longwood is encouraging all fans in attendance at the men’s home game against Radford on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m., which ESPN has picked up for broadcast for the Big South Wildcard series, to Paint It Blue for ESPNU. Fans should don their Longwood blue shirts, sweatshirts, or sweaters – or all the above plus their scarves–to create a unified display of school pride for the country to see.
“Fans have already made the Joan Perry Brock Center the place to be,” said Sam Hovan, director of athletics communication and voice of the Lancers. “That’s developed into a distinct home-court advantage, where the Lancers are undefeated. The crowd really becomes the sixth man on the court, and when everyone is wearing the same color, it accentuates that Farmville is the toughest place to play in the Big South.”
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The matchup features two teams that have a combined 22 wins between them heading into conference play. The Lancers, who won 12 straight in November and December, are off to their best start in more than four decades. Meanwhile, Radford is off to its best start through 15 games in 30 years. Longwood also has four players currently ranked in the Top 26 of the league in scoring. Walyn Napper (14.4 points per game) leads the way, with Johnathan Massie (12.7 ppg), Michael Christmas (10.9 ppg) and Szymon Zapala (10.6 ppg) all scoring in double figures.
Tickets are now on sale for the game, which is expected to draw a passionate and engaged crowd. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. Thursday.
An introduction on ESPN
There’s a couple things driving attention to the first game in the rivalry this season. Currently, Longwood and Radford stand 1 and 2 in the Big South. Last season, both teams won at home, with Radford taking game one 63-59 and Longwood picking up game two 73-63.
It’s also a national introduction of sorts. Last year, each time Longwood made it on ESPN was for a road game. Before that, ESPN cameras filmed games at Willett Hall. So this marks the first time the Joan Perry Brock Center will be in front of a national audience. And so far this season, playing at the JPB has been an advantage for the Lancers, as they’re 8-0 at home.
“We are excited to be featured on national television again this year – and specifically to be able to do so at Longwood,” said head coach Griff Aldrich. “This provides us with a great opportunity to showcase the best of our University and our program! It should be an electric night for our fans, highlighting a great matchup between two strong mid-major programs.”
And if a student needs some help finding something blue to wear, the university will help out with that too. The first 300 students at this week’s game will receive free Longwood blue t-shirts.
“Night games already have a special atmosphere, but I think we’ll reach a new level when we Paint it Blue for ESPNU,” said Hovan. “It’s a chance for us to show the rest of the country again how Longwood and the Farmville community comes out in support of its team.”