Taylor’s Senior Night pushes Longwood past Campbell, 70-65

longwoodQuincy Taylor played only one season at Longwood, but it will be a long time before the Longwood faithful forget him.

In his curtain call in Willett Hall Saturday, the former UAB transfer scored 25 points to power Longwood (9-22, 5-13 Big South) past Campbell, 70-65, and send the Lancers into the Big South Tournament as the No. 9 seed. Taylor’s 18 second-half points propelled the redshirt senior to his eighth 20-point game of the season, jumped the Lancers ahead of Campbell in the Big South standings and set the stage for a first-round matchup between Longwood and eighth-seeded Presbyterian in the opening game of the Big South Tournament Wednesday at noon.

Taylor hit 6-of-11 shots from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point range against Campbell (10-21, 4-14 Big South) to cap his lone season in Farmville in emblematic fashion. The 6-0, 180-pound point guard, who sat out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules, wrapped up the 2014-15 regular season averaging 17.3 points per game and shooting .472 (77-of-163) from three-point range to rank second nationally in that category and first on Longwood’s single-season list.

“It was an emotional locker room before the game,” said second-year head coach Jayson Gee, who surpassed his overall and Big South win totals from a year ago with the victory. “We talked about [Taylor’s final game] and the players talked about it. I thought Quincy really played with great pride and effort and attitude and conviction. He knew what he needed to do. He wasn’t going to let this team down tonight.”

Taylor put Longwood on his back in crunch time and hit 7-of-8 free throws inside the final seven minutes to hold off a Campbell team that cut a 19-point halftime deficit to one point with 1:49 to play. He scored 10 of Longwood’s final 15 points, including back-to-back free throws with 1:21 remaining to give the Lancers a three-point cushion.

“He said something to our team before the game, that every team right now is focused on what they’re going to do in the tournament,” Gee said. “He told them they’re all saying the same things right now, so we have to do a great job of being focused on ourselves. Give him credit, he made the plays tonight. He hit some key shots to help us win.”

Taylor was not the only Lancer who made the most of the home finale, finishing as one of three double-figure scorers alongside juniors Shaquille Johnson (13 points) and Leron Fisher (12 points). Junior Jason Pimentel neared a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds off the bench to lead a 22-point effort from Longwood’s reserves.

Johnson, meanwhile, added six rebounds and five assists, all of which led to three-point baskets, including two to Taylor. Johnson picked off four steals that sparked six of Longwood’s 14 points off turnovers, and he hit 6-of-9 free throws in the second half to team with Taylor in fighting off Campbell’s late surge. His last two free throws came with 21 seconds remaining and pushed Longwood’s lead from one possession to two.

The Lancers will now shift their focus to the postseason, which begins with Wednesday’s Big South Tournament opener against Presbyterian. Longwood and Presbyterian have already squared off twice this season and split the matchups on opposing courts. Wednesday’s neutral site contest tips off at noon in The HTC Center in Conway, S.C.

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