Longwood men’s basketball loses heartbreaker to USC Upstate

Published 11:25 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Ahmir Langlais capped a late USC Upstate rally with a tip-in with one second to go, and USC Upstate (6-11, 1-3 Big South) took down Longwood men’s basketball 73-71 on Wednesday night.

Langlais was one of four Spartans to score in in double figures as Upstate rallied from down 14, but he did most of his damage after halftime. He had 11 of his 13 in the second half, and Miguel Ayesa added three second-half triples on his way to 11 points.

The Spartans shot better than 50 percent from the floor on the evening, which was enough to offset four Lancers (13-7, 1-4 Big South) scoring in double digits.

Email newsletter signup

Jesper Granlund and DA Houston led the way with 13 points apiece for Longwood, and Johnathan Massie added 12. Szymon Zapala chipped in 11 points and tied Massie with a team-best nine rebounds.

“If we don’t change our approach to be urgently focused on executing and playing at an extremely hard and high level, we can’t expect the results to change,” Aldrich said. “We get up 14, and we’re casual. We leave shooters open. We foul three-point shooters. We let guys catch the ball in the post. There’s a ball screen defense breakdown, and a lob and a foul and an and-one. These are fundamental breakdowns that—there has to be more urgency. Buck stops with me, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to get us there.”

Tempo suits Longwood men’s basketball

The Lancers led for the lion’s share of the contest and jumped out to an early seven point advantage in the game’s opening minutes.

Three guys hit a three for the Lancers in the first seven minutes to help build the early 13-6 advantage, but Justin Bailey found a rhythm for USC Upstate. He poured in 12 of his 16 points in the first half to keep Upstate hanging around.

Longwood used a 15-6 run to stretch the lead to 34-24 with 1:53 to go in the half on a Zapala layup, and the team led 38-28 at the break.

After halftime, the Lancers extended the lead to 14, but Upstate started to creep back into the game as Ayesa, Broadnax and Bailey all hit big threes.

The Upstate defense stiffened up in the final seven minutes, and Ayesa cut the lead to one with a triple before Broadnax tied the game up at 71 with 44 seconds to play. Broadnax matched Bailey with 16 points, with 10 of them coming in the second half.

‘I’m really disappointed’

“Tonight I’m really disappointed,” Aldrich added. “It’s the same message I’ve been saying, but I don’t think we have a heightened urgency to execute. And when we don’t, we’re going to continue to experience the same results.”

After forcing a Longwood miss, Broadnax was off the mark on his layup, but Langlais was there to tip it home and beat the clock for the win.

Longwood returns home to take on Presbyterian on Saturday, January 20. Tip is set for 3 p.m. at the Joan Perry Brock Center. The game will stream on ESPN+ and air on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country.