Longwood got 17 points and nine rebounds from Isaiah Wilkins to earn a tough 75-70 win at The Citadel on Saturday.
The win was the second in a row on the road for the Lancers (7-5, KenPom: 160).
“It was a great win for us. I told the guys, this is like a conference game,” Longwood coach Griff Aldrich said. “It’s on the road, and it’s going to be a dogfight. The Citadel, credit to them, there is no quit in them. I thought a couple of times, we were poised to take a big jump, and they would make a play and compete and get right back in it. But that’s like a conference matchup. They’re going to be a dog fight. To find a way to come out and win was exceptional.”
The Citadel (5-6, KenPom: 277), coming off a 100-67 loss at North Carolina on Tuesday, got 27 points from Iowa grad transfer Austin Ash, who was 9-of-17 from three-point range on the day.
Longwood led by eight at halftime and extended the lead to 11 multiple times in the second half, but Ash kept dragging The Citadel back in, with back-to-back threes giving the Bulldogs a 68-65 lead with 1:55 to go.
The Lancers didn’t pack it in, and Wilkins went to work. The senior picked Elijah Morgan’s pocket and converted it into a layup to cut the lead to one, and the Lancer defense forced a missed three from Ash on the ensuing possession.
DeShaun Wade, who had 12 points on the day, was fouled while grabbing the defensive rebound and coolly sank both free throws for a 69-68 Lancer lead.
Zac Watson, who had eight points and seven boards for Longwood, then denied Madison Durr along the baseline, and Wilkins sank two foul shots to extend the lead to three with 23 seconds to play.
While Durr hit one last shot, Longwood was perfect from the line in the final 20 seconds to close the game out.
“I was extremely proud of these guys,” Aldrich said. “I thought this team took a step forward in a material way with the win today. Honestly, it has nothing to do with whether we won or lost. I told the guys I was proud of their approach. If we can maintain and be consistent with that approach, this team is going to get better and better and better.”
The Lancers are back at home on Tuesday afternoon. The team hosts South Carolina State in their final non-conference game at 2 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN+ and on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country.