Home Longwood, down 12, takes control in second half, defeats Winthrop, 85-71

Longwood, down 12, takes control in second half, defeats Winthrop, 85-71

Chris Graham
longwood basketball
Logo: Longwood Athletics

Winthrop led by nine at the half, by 12 four minutes into the second half, then Longwood stormed back, ultimately winning by an 85-71 count.

The Lancers (12-5, 4-0 Big South) won their seventh straight with a monstrous second half that saw the offense pop off while the defense was lights out.

The reigning Big South champions held Winthrop to 26 second-half points, the 10th time this season that Longwood has held a foe to less than 30 points in a half. The Lancers forced Winthrop into 13 turnovers after halftime as well and improved to 7-1 at home this year.

Five players tallied double figures for the Lancers, with DA Houston’s team-best 16 leading the way. Walyn Napper added 15 points and a season-best seven assists.

The pairing combined to shoot 10-of-13 after halftime with their repeated forays into the paint. The Lancers followed Houston and Napper’s lead and shot .700 (21-30) in the final 20 minutes.

Isaiah Wilkins chipped in 14 points and six rebounds.

Winthrop (7-10, 2-2 Big South) started hot and owned the first half after Cory Hightower poured in five first-half threes. He had a game-high 19, but the Lancer defense snuffed him out after halftime and didn’t allow him to score.

Kasen Harrison added 15 points and six assists for the Eagles, and Toneari Lane had 13 points while Kelton Talford had 10.

After Winthrop had a nine-point lead at the break, the Eagles extended it to 52-40 with 16:25 to play. Then Houston lifted Longwood’s level. He stole a crosscourt pass and took it home for a layup, and the Lancers had new life.

Longwood didn’t miss for the next five minutes. The Lancers went 7-of-7 from the floor, and Houston poured in eight points during a 17-3 run that erased the deficit and put Longwood up. The Lancer defense did its part as well by forcing four Winthrop turnovers.

“Winthrop was locking out on shooters, and we adjusted,” Longwood coach Griff Aldrich said. “Offensively, we were standing too much in the first half. Too much one-on-one. Almost every person who caught it was looking to put the ball on the ground. I thought we had to move the ball. When we move the ball and get into things later in the possession, the defense is typically more loosened up. It’s harder for them to stay solid. That was certainly what happened in the second half.”

Longwood heads back on the road to take on UNC Asheville on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPNU as the first Big South Wildcard this spring. The game will be on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].