Lancers remain undefeated at JPB after Saturday blowout
Published 9:27 pm Saturday, January 6, 2024
Team basketball powered the Longwood men on Saturday afternoon against Charleston Southern. Ten Lancers (13-4, 1-1 Big South) scored, the defense was stiff, and Longwood pulled away in a 77-56 win to stay undefeated at the Joan Perry Brock Center (JPB).
The defense didn’t give up many open looks, and Longwood nearly led wire to wire while holding Charleston Southern (4-11, 0-2 Big South) to .306 (19-62) shooting from the floor.
“I thought our approach was much better through the whole game,” said Longwood Head Coach Griff Aldrich. “We had a few dips, but for the most part, I thought our guys were pretty locked in. I think it showed defensively. I didn’t think they got many open looks. To hold a team to 30 percent shooting and 18 percent from three, it’s a real credit to those guys competing on the defensive end.”
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On offense, Longwood used stretches of crisp play and ball movement to pull away during the game. In addition to having 10 players score, six players had an assist in the game.
“It’s huge,” Aldrich said about how the team’s depth made a difference. “I think there’s two things that come with depth. A, I think you can play harder and you can play more people who can play harder. There’s also a psychological piece, which is, guys know, ‘If I don’t play hard, there’s some guys who are going to come right in and play.’
A team effort
Michael Christmas tallied a team-best 15 points, but he wasn’t alone. Szymon Zapala and DA Houston added 13 points apiece, and Walyn Napper chipped in 12.
“It was a very good team effort,” Aldrich said. “Mike was solid again. It was good to see threes go in for us and him. Szymon had a really solid game, I thought. Walyn again scored it well, and DA had a nice performance as well on the offensive end.”
For Charleston Southern, Taje’ Kelly led the way with 19 points, and DJ Patrick added 15.
Zapala scored the first five points of the game for a quick 5-0 lead, but Charleston Southern ripped off six straight to take their only lead of the night.
Houston drained a floater 16 seconds later, and the Lancers never trailed again. The defense continued to make life difficult for Charleston Southern as the Lancers flew around and contested every shot.
Zapala, meanwhile, powered Longwood in the first 20 minutes. He poured in nine of Longwood’s first 13 points in the first eight minutes.
The Lancers extended the lead to 20-10 with 8:55 to go in the half behind a Napper triple from the corner. The lead was 34-22 at the half after Johnathan Massie finished off an and-one with 27 seconds to go. He had seven points and a career best 12 boards.
In the second half, Longwood never let Charleston Southern make a game-changing run. The defense did enough to get stops, and Christmas and Houston provided timely answers.
Christmas drained three triples after halftime and had 13 of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes. Houston scored nine of his 13 after halftime as well, and the Lancers led by at least a dozen for the entire second half.
Radford comes calling to JPB
Longwood stays home and hosts Radford at the JPB on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. The game will air on ESPNU and on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country, and fans are encouraged to wear blue. Tickets are available at www.longwoodlancers.com/tickets.