Longwood shot just 40 percent, but pounded the offensive boards and shot a season-high 40 free throws to gut out a 72-65 win over USC Upstate on Saturday in Farmville.
The Lancers (13-6, 5-1 Big South) got 19 points from DeShaun Wade, 16 points from Jesper Granlund and 12 points and 12 rebounds from Isaiah Wilkins
Longwood led 28-24 at the break, and extended the lead to 43-29 with 12:36 to play, but Upstate (8-9, 3-3 Big South) managed to whittle away the lead over the next 10 minutes, and Jordan Gainey hit two foul shots to cut the Lancer lead to 61-56 with 2:20 left.
Wilkins came down the floor and drained a huge wing three off a feed from Wade, and the Lancers went 8-of-10 from the foul line in the final two minutes to seal the game.
“I was really proud of the guys for battling,” said Longwood coach Griff Aldrich. “The Thursday-Saturday turnaround, it’s a joy to play on national television, but we also got the joy of having to get back from Asheville and immediately turn around and prepare. That’s a significant advantage that Upstate enjoyed of having an extra day, and they played at home on Wednesday. So, there was really only travel up here. I thought our guys showed a lot of toughness.”
Longwood stays at home to host Gardner-Webb on Wednesday. Tip is set for 7 p.m., and it will be the Salute to Heroes night, sponsored by Haley Auto Mall. First responders, including local police, firefighters and EMS will receive free admission to the game.
The contest will air on ESPN+ as well as on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country.