Two teams languishing near the bottom of the Big South Conference’s regular-season standings went two overtimes on Saturday, and in the end, Charleston Southern’s losing streak reached five games.
Longwood guard Tra’vaughn White hit a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left and the Lancers withstood two CSU shot attempts in the final seconds, hanging on for a 78-76 win at the CSU Field House.
Charleston Southern dropped to 8-16 overall and 4-9 in the Big South Conference, falling to ninth place in the 11-team league.
Longwood moved ahead of CSU with the win, improving to 8-17 overall and 4-8 in league play.
“This one hurts,” CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We really wanted to win this game. This hurts a lot. I’m really proud of the way our guys competed. They (Longwood) just made one more play than we did. Their experience showed up today.”
Senior center Lotanna Nwogbo led Longwood with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Kanayo Obi-Rapu and White added 17 points each while Darrion Allen chipped in 14 points.
Freshman guard Armel Potter scored 21 points for CSU while junior guard Raemond Robinson added 18, connecting on six 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Javis Howard scored 16 points with eight rebounds while senior forward Aaron Wheeler hauled in 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists.
Neither team held more than a seven-point lead in the game. The game was tied 12 times with 13 lead changes. CSU shot 50 percent in the first half but only managed 31 percent in the second half and overtime. The Buccaneers were 13 of 36 from beyond the arc but out-rebounded Longwood, 46-38, including a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass.
“We won a lot of the hustle stats,” Radebaugh said. “We did a lot of great stuff. We’re just not making enough shots.”
CSU trailed, 36-35, at the half and fell behind 44-38 early into the second half. Potter and Robinson keyed a 15-5 run to push CSU out to a 53-49 lead with 9:45 left in the game.
The Buccaneers, however, missed nine of their next 10 shots and Longwood used an 8-1 run to take a 57-54 lead with under six minutes remaining.
Trailing 59-58 with under three minutes to play, Potter hit an off balance 3 and was fouled by White. Potter failed to convert the free throw but CSU held a 61-59 lead. Down 63-61, Howard tied the game with a layup but missed a free throw that would have given CSU the lead.
In the first overtime, Robinson hit a 27-foot 3-pointer to tie the game at 71, forcing a second extra session. Robinson’s sixth trey with 1:59 left in the second overtime tied the game at 76, setting up White’s winning throws later in the period.
Robinson had a good look at a game-winning 3-pointer with 17 seconds left. Longwood grabbed the miss but turned the ball over, giving CSU and Potter one last possession with 5.2 seconds left in the game. Potter’s straightaway 3-pointer bounced off the rim.
“I really believe in this team and we can salvage some good out of this season,” said Radebaugh of his team’s recent struggles. “I really love this team. I love their heart and their competitiveness. We’re 8-16 and this team just gave a heckuva effort today. This team has not quit and I applaud them for the effort they bring every day.”
Charleston Southern will host Presbyterian College on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CSU’s last win came on Jan. 20 at Presbyterian — a 73-72 decision.