For the second straight game, an opposing guard came into the CSU Field House and shot as if he were playing a pickup game in the backyard.
A week ago, UNC Asheville guard Andrew Rowsey scored 35 points to beat CSU, 80-76.
On Saturday, it was Longwood senior guard Tristan Carey, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points per game and torched the Buccaneers for 37 points. Carey was 7 of 10 from beyond the arc and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Lancers to a second straight league upset, 88-85.
CSU drops to 9-10 overall and 3-3 in conference play, while Longwood improves to 7-14 overall and 2-4 in league play. Longwood upset Liberty on Wednesday night.
While Carey's effort was a major factor in the game, injuries to Charleston Southern's starting backcourt of Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper proved to have an even bigger effect on the outcome of the contest.
Harper injured an ankle late in the first half after scoring 12 points and did not play in the second half, while Nimley, CSU's leading scorer for the season, was injured midway through the second half and did not return after scoring 14 points.
"I thought Longwood took advantage of a lot of our weaknesses and basically wore us out," said CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh. "We got torched. We got blitzed. We couldn't play man, we can't play zone. There comes a time when a team has to take ownership. We scored enough points to win. Scoring 85 points, you should win. Unless we have some guys take ownership, we have a long ways to go."
Charleston Southern senior guard Matt Kennedy did all he could do, pouring in a career-high 28 points, but the Buccaneers had very little punch without their two all-conference guards, who have combined for more than 2,100 career points. Radebaugh pointed to another poor defensive effort.
"To give up 88 points, I just have not seen our team defend like that in three years," said Radebaugh. "We've had back-to-back 19 win seasons because of our improved defense. It's not there right now. It looked like when Saah and Arlon went out, we hung our heads. It took two timeouts to get us right. We're a team. If we are only those two guys, we have not recruited well enough."
The first half featured great shooting and very little defense by either team. CSU grabbed a 53-48 halftime advantage, despite Longwood's 60 percent shooting. The Buccaneers shot 52 percent, including eight 3-pointers.
Kennedy scored 16 points in the first half and gave the Bucs their largest lead at 33-20 with a 3-pointer at the 8:47 mark.
Carey, however, was better, scoring 23 points with five 3-pointers and sparking the Lancers on a 7-2 run in the final two minutes to cut the margin to five at the break.
CSU started slowly in the second half, failing to hit a field goal in the first five minutes, and Longwood took a 58-57 lead on Carey's layup with 15:15 left in the game. The game was back and forth the rest of the way with each team having time with the lead.
Charleston Southern stayed close in the second half with free throws, converting 10 of 13 opportunities.
Kennedy's basket with 2:53 left gave CSU an 80-78 lead, but back-to-back buckets by Karl Ziegler pushed Longwood to an 82-80 advantage with 1:34 remaining. Ziegler finished with 16 points.
With CSU trailing, 84-80, Will Saunders hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. After Carey broke away for a dunk, Kennedy hit a jumper with 10 seconds left, cutting the margin to 86-85.
Leron Fisher hit two free throws with eight ticks left and Saunders saw a game-tying 3-pointer rim out at the buzzer.
Longwood shot 57.4 percent from the field for the game, while CSU finished at 49.1 percent. CSU outscored the Lancers, 23-10, from the charity stripe. Without Harper and Nimley, Charleston Southern made only 2 of 10 3-point attempts in the second half.
Charleston Southern hits the road on Wednesday for a game at Campbell. Radebaugh could not comment on whether the Bucs would be without Nimley and Harper.
"Don't know right now. They looked serious but we'll find out if they can play later," the coach said.