Mysterious Lancers Pose A Challenge To PC

When Providence College's schedule was released, one name jumped out at Friar fans as a team that they were totally unfamiliar with. Longwood. Who was Longwood?

That question is about to be answered as the Longwood Lancers invade the Dunk for PC's final non-conference game of the season. Longwood is a small school, located in Farmville, Virginia, with an enrollment of 4,350 – making it just a tad bigger than Providence. But, in terms of basketball achievements, the Lancers are a relative unknown.

Longwood is playing, once again, as a Division I independent, as the school moves to permanent Division I status. Last season, the Lancers compiled a 10-20 record, and head coach Mike Gillan has a three year record of 16-72 at the school. Clearly, its been a slow and difficult move to D1 status. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This season, the Lancers are 6-10, but enter the PC matchup on a three game winning streak. In Longwood's last game, on December 30, they downed American University, 81-79 in overtime. That followed wins over Kennesaw State and Charleston Southern. It also avenged a December 4 loss to American, by a 60-49 margin.

Some of the upper level teams that Longwood has played this included losses to New Mexico (79-60), Richmond (83-72), USC (83-53) and George Washington (74-60). After Providence, Longwood will face Oklahoma, Virginia and Yale among its remaining games.

Clearly, Longwood is an improving club, and the absence of Sharaud Curry for Providence makes any opponent a dangerous one.

ROSTER
Darren Holmes, F , 6-6, 215, Senior, Virginia Beach, VA
Clayton Morgan, F , 6-7, 230, Senior, Brooklyn, NY
Kirk Williams, F, 6-6, 180 , Sophomore, White Plains, NY
Brandon Giles, G, 5-10, 150, Junior, Gaithersburg, MD
EJ Dawson
Joel Rowe, G, 6-1, 190, Senior, Colonial Heights, VA
Michael Jefferson, G, 6-3, 200, Senior, Chesterfield, VA
Dana Smith, G, 6-5, 225, Junior, Woodbridge, VA
Billy Robinson, F, 6-7, 190, Freshman, Columbia, MD
Kevin Swecker, G, 6-2, 170, Freshman, Baltimore, MD
Husein Pistoljevic, G, 6-2, 185, Senior, Richland, WA
Danny Wilson, C, 6-8, 225, Junior, Pantego, NC
Maurice Sumter, G-F, 6-5, 180, Senior, Alexandria, VA
Lamar Barrett, F, 6-6, 190, Junior, Providence, RI

Longwood figures to start Morgan, Giles, Pistoljevic, Sumter and Barrett against the Friars. Since Husein Pistoljevic moved into the starting lineup, the Lancers have been winning.

There's some local flavor to this matchup, too. Lamar Barrett is a junior who played at St. Andrew's along with Jon Kale, and figures to bring a nice contingent to the Dunk to cheer him on.

So far this season, the Lancers have featured three players scoring in double figures: Sumter, at 16.7 ppg, Morgan, at 13.4 ppg and Williams, off the bench, at 10.3 ppg. The other probable starters feature Pistoljevic, at 6.6 ppg, Giles at 5.8 ppg and Barrett, at 5.7 ppg. Longwood is paced on the boards by Morgan, at 7.6 rpg, Barrett, at 5.8 rpg and Williams, at 5.2 rpg. Giles is the lead guard, and has 58 assists, but also 60 turnovers, so he's susceptible to pressure. Overall, Longwood turns the ball over 18 times a game, compared with 12 assists.

The Lancers score well enough, at 67 ppg, and shoot 41% from the floor, 68% from the line and 31% from the arc. Pistoljevic, with 29, and Sumter, with 20, are the primary three point threats. Longwood's problem has been stopping the opposing teams from scoring, and with no starters taller than 6'7, the Friars should pose a matchup problem inside.

Of course, PC has allowed 183 points in its last two games, so tightening the defense will be priority number one for the Friars. With the Big East schedule looming, PC cannot afford to play the kind of defense that it has for the past couple of weeks. Finding the outside threats, denying the post, and preventing easy lanes to the basket are all points of emphasis, as Providence has one last game before league play.

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