Griff Aldrich’s Longwood men’s basketball team went to Radford last week with dreams of having a fairytale end to a historic season in the 2020 Big South tournament, but Hampton’s sharpshooters had different plans.
The Pirates’ stout defensive effort and Big South First-Team All-Conference selection Jermaine Marrow’s second half scoring barrage proved to be the difference in the Lancers 78-53 conference quarterfinal loss on March 5. The loss snapped a four-game win streak while ending a season full of record-breaking feats.
“Give Hampton a ton of credit, I thought they played really well. We struggled to make shots and I thought they did a great job on us defensively,” Aldrich said. “This game will not define our season, and the reality is (that) it’s been a really hard season.”
The Lancers came out in the final quarterfinal game of the night and started with a small 5-2 lead, which would turn out to be the only lead they had all night. The Pirates from there went on a 11-0 run and never looked back.
“I really thought we had a great segment in the first portion of the first half, then they went on a run and then we kind of got things back under control,” Aldrich said. “In the second half things just kind of spun out of control.”
He continued, “Obviously they’ve got Marrow and Stanley and the goal was to try and make other people score and make other people beat (us).”
After only scoring 14 points in the first half on 6-29 shooting, the Lancers scored 39 in the second, mainly coming at the hands of a late second half rally led by senior forward Jaylon Wilson, who finished with a team-high 17 points. However, Longwood never got within reaching distance of the Pirates in the second half, as 20 of Marrow’s 32 points came in the back half of the game.
Senior forward JaShaun Smith and senior guards Jaylon Wilson, Shabooty Phillips and Sean Flood all finish their Longwood careers being part of a team who broke the program record for conference wins with nine, overall conference win percentage at .500 and highest Big South tournament seed, being number four.
Hampton went on to defeat top-seeded Radford in the Big South semifinal the next day, but lost to second-seeded Winthrop in the Big South Championship on Sunday, sending the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years.